Zuid-burgemeester kandidaat-lamblasts die onvolledige projecten in verlegenheid brengenoktober 13, 2019
Mayoral candidate Tim Hanna says the festering sore that is the Around the Mountain Cycle Trail must be finished so it can benefit Southlanders.
Hanna, a publican and published author, comes across as personable and clear on what plans he would be put in place if he’s elected as the new Southland District Mayor.
First off is the beleaguered cycle trail that has had millions of dollars thrown at it and landed in the Environment Court.
It needs to be put out to tender and then we market the hell out of it it, he says.
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“That’s just a festering sore and it does not speak well for the provence.”
Hanna who operates the Lumsden Hotel, says if he’s elected he will ensure the trail is finished.
The trail will make the region proud and attract tourists to towns on the trail like Centre Hill, Mossburn and Lumsden.
But his list doesn’t stop there.
Solar panels on all public buildings and a rate rebate for residents who switch from using coal to warm their homes.
A mandate for wool carpets in public buildings to help farmers.
And, when it comes to the business of council Hanna is clear the current team is not delivering for ratepayers.
He pledges to restore the council’s Community Development Area subcommittees which may go after the election.
The subcommittees would lose their independent agency in favour of larger Community Boards, which Hanna says represents telling blow to democracy.
He says he’ll find a solution to the council’s infrastructure challenges of needing to replace 200 bridges in the next 20 years.
“To be honest, I don’t know the answer, but I’m bloody well going to find out and I don’t accept it can’t be done.”
Incumbent mayor Gary Tong is standing for his third term and it’s here that Hanna is his most forthright.
“He [Tong] isn’t doing a good job. Simple as that.”
The WasteNet recycling contract which split the Gore and Southland District Councils against the Invercargill City Council is an issue that Hanna says is also an election point for the Southland District mayoralty.
Both Gore and Southland District voted for the recycling contract to go to a new company, which would have meant Southland disAbility Enterprises would have lost its long-term contract.
Hanna says Tong ignored 26,000 people who signed a petition for the contract to stay with SDE.
“Everyone I’ve talked to agrees. Where’s the responsiveness to them,” Hanna says.
“The SDE thing reveals an authoritarian streak, he [Tong] doesn’t listen to local and popular opinion.”
Hanna also questions the trips Tong has made to Shantou, China, funded by the Chao Shan Association in 2017 and 2018.
Hanna questions what benefit these “junket” trips have garnered.
Tong submitted a report to council in February, saying the trip was to discuss future relationships with Shantou and said officials from the south-east Chinese city approached him about a sister city relationship.
As of May it appears no such relationship has been fostered.
The one area where Hanna does appear confusing is when it comes to council’s spending ratepayer money on private enterprise.
He is critical of the Invercargill City Council’s $30million investment in the CBD development.
But when it comes to investing in products like oat milk, Hanna would be ready to write a cheque.
“Totally, completely utterly. I’d get in behind that every god-damn day of the week.”
When pointed out that seemed totally at odds with his previous statement, he replied his aversion to public spending on private business was not a hard-and-fast rule.
Great South, the Southland regional development agency believes Southland’s oat growing industry could be worth up to $500million a year.
“We’ve grown oats forever. We were settled by Scots, they know about porridge!”
A great love for Southland
Spending hours on his prized yacht is giving Tim Hanna time to think about how to leave his mark on the world.
Hanna says restoring a 1897, 13m steam sailor is a cathartic project.
He grew up in Northland, and his grandfather was a farmer on the Kaipara harbour.
While his father’s civil engineering work took them around the country his spiritual home will always be Whakapirau, north-west of Auckland.
His other real love is his wife Janel.
The pair restored the Lumsden Hotel, and from a table by the fire, Hanna details his love for Southland.
He takes his dogs to the same spot on the Oreti River, behind the hotel, everyday and says he will never get tired of the mountain views to the west.
He believes government bodies have a responsibility to enhance their citizen’s lives aside from core services.
He’d like to attract an event like Balloons over Waikato to Southland.
“I think wherever possible, council should contribute or encourage or facilitate anything that makes our lives richer.”