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Hastings Councillor Candidates

Finding Inspiration in Every Turn

We asked the Councillor Candidates these questions

  1. What do you see as the biggest environmental issues facing the district or region you are standing for ? 

  2. How would you want your district/ region to respond to these issues ?

  3. How will you practically and collaboratively support climate action in the district/ region? 

  4. What are your priorities for transport and how would you go about achieving them?

  5. Thinking about council, local business and household activities and their supply chain, food waste collection schemes, solid waste collection and disposal, building, and e-waste, what are your priorities for waste and how would you go about achieving them?

  6. What are your priorities for energy efficiency ? 

  7. Thinking about high density development, development in existing suburban centres, on greenfields sites, and protecting and creating existing green space, waterways and forest, what are your priorities for urban development and how would you go about achieving them?

  8. Have you undertaken training in local government, governance, and/or financial management in the last three years? Would you commit to doing so in the first six months if not?

The following Candidates responded:

  Damon Harvey

  1. Combating climate change and all the impacts that arise from this - more natural events that have an impact on our environment

  2. It needs to be a multi-action approach. Council needs to take a strong look at its own impact on the environment and make vast changes - eg new buildings that are efficient, have the ability to harvest water etc; housing - make sure all new homes are eco-friendly and incentivise owners to do so, partner with other councils to tackle the bigger more regional solutions

  3. Make sure that every decision we consider has an environmental lens placed on it - how will it impact/improve the environment. We also have an eco-districts sub-committee which has made some initial key actions but needs someone on staff to be a champion.  I think we need to find an ambassador to pick up this work - a bit similar to what has been done at the regional council.

  4. I am the chair of Active Transport and we need to have a cycle/walk friendly network and look for incentives to get people using alternative transport to and from work.

  5. Minimise our footprint as much as possible. Educate people about why its so important. Building waste is a huge issue and we need to lead by example and make sure we minimise our waste to landfill and also create some meaningful approach to ensure the construction sector also makes it a priority as well. 

  6. The government has an excellent initiative to provide funding for energy efficiency programmes for businesses and we need to ensure industry know that there is funding available to make changes. A great example is Woolworks that is moving away from gas and coal boilers and received $2m from the GIDI fund.

  7. This is a huge question - but we need to have a higher level of 'green' in how developments are created. This is from building design and construction methods, to natural plantings that protect waterways etc

  8. I have spent over 15 years in governance roles all of which have provided me with training opportunities. I think i have a strong and credible level of governance from these board directorships.


  Gilly Lawrence

  1. Climate Change and the effects that will have.

  2. By implementing measures that would have regenerative environmental effects.

  3. Start by learning what responsibilities local govt has and what it can do to support climate action.

  4. I would like to see better public transport options, I do not know how to achieve that but I’m sure there is someone who does know some good solutions and I would really like to ask them.

  5. priorities for waste and how would you go about achieving them?

  6. Personally I hate waste! Unfortunately its not an area of expertise for me but again there are people who know about to make positive changes to these procedures and it would be awesome to discuss better options with them. I would love to see some kind of investment and research into new technologies in dealing with all types of waste.

  7. I would really like to see more solar energy capturing, especially here in Hawkes Bay as we have high annual sunshine hrs.

  8. We are blessed in Hawkes Bay to have lots of green space, I would like to see less executive house building and maybe some apartment style building in the urban areas could be an option, again I’m sure there are civic planners who would have a better understanding and it would be good to discuss options with some of them.

  9. No training in Local Govt. Yes I would commit to doing some if elected.


  Eileen Lawson

  1. Climate change and community resilience, protecting our fertile soils.

  2. Plan for extreme weather events through capacity and maintenance, focussing growth on the less productive lands and intensification within existing urban areas using good environmental practices.

  3. Through a Regional Spatial Plan which is an opportunity to work across Councils to provide a plan for a sustainable future.

  4. Continue to look at ways to reduce reliance on cars for transport via good biking/walking ways, efficient and user friendly public transport, and eventually planningfor vehicle free inner city areas.

  5. HDC currently has a joint waste minimisation plan, but to reduce waste further we must all take responsibility,so a combination ofCentral Government Regulations, Local Government by laws and Consumer/Community Education is required.

  6. Encourage energy responsibility and self sufficiency

  7. Encourage self sufficiency such as solar and water storage - incentivise through subsidized tanks and solar systems and encourage water savings through water meters aremechanisms which could be used. .

  8. Yes to all those questions


  John Roil

  1. Poor quality stormwater entering our streams and then our rivers. Longer term issues such as Global warming, extreme weather events will need to be planned over a longer period of time.

  2. Been more proactive in monitoring . (Probably more with the HBRC?) but still an issue.

  3. By encouraging home owners to build on timber piles which further protect homes from flooding. Not building in hazard areas; i.e identifiable flood areas.

  4. Encourage more cycle ways. As a member of Rotary for a number of years we started the pathways for walking and cycling and would further encourage this type of action.

  5. To be effective, educating individuals, need to be the first part of change with food waste. Secondly I would encourage more of bottles and other recyclable items. Otherwise the issue becomes a Local Council problem with collection and costs associated this. Otherwise only ratepayers end up paying for the issue.

  6. No response.

  7. I would like to see our most highly productive land protected in some form for growing food. Future development should occur in the foothills. Intensive development(Inner city living)should occur closer to the middle of town. Council needs to encourage existing residential land to be utilized for additional housing. By removing older homes and replace with smaller more efficient homes. Poorer quality land should also be considered for development that is close to services in order to facilitate affordable housing. Climate change should be considered for any future development.

  8. Would you commit to doing so in the first six months if not? I have previously served as a Councillor for 6 years in 2010-2016. We have successfully run a business for over 30 years. I would assess any requirement to do so, but feel my skills may be better suited in areas of Governance that my experience has provided.


    Malcolm Dixon

  1. The impact that severe weather events may have on our region.

  2. Be Prepared and ensure that all pipes, waterways, drains, gutters are kept as clear as possible. Be proactive not reactive. 

  3. Support any issues around infrastructure needs and coastal erosion essentials. It needs to be regional collaboration. Improve the communication and messaging around the causes.

  4. Our current system of public transport leaves a lot to be desired.  A large fleet of hybrid or preferably electric mini buses on call through an app or a phone call. Door to door on the Gold Coast you pay $2 to be collected and delivered to a major arterial route. Regular rail linkage between Napier / Hastings / CHB could prove to be effective

  5. First priority would be to have minimal wastage with all forms of packaging/ plastic bottling If it is not essential don’t use it or better still don’t accept it. The fast food industry needs to be made accountable for the rubbish, environmental eyesore that they are responsible for. Food waste could be reduced to minimal amounts if the community was educated on how they could use it and what to buy when.  Encourage having your own home garden patch with and ample supply of affordable seedlings readily available at  minimal cost

  6. Unison and the HB Power Consumers Trust should play a far greater role.  Provide greater incentives for those who save or who want to become more energy efficient.  Unison should be providing numerous electric charging stations right throughout the community. Currently their response has been pathetic. The HB Power Consumers Trust should offer to pay for solar panels upon approving an application prior to paying out any dividends to consumers

  7. Providing opportunities for quality inner city living sites or current buildings able to be repurposed.  Council needs to identify all of those suburban sites with quarter acres sections that could easily be redeveloped and then work with the developers. Urban is for residential development. Rural, Horticultural and Industrial areas must stay that way. They can also intensify the land they are using and must also be forced to think that way. 

  8. Yes I have.  Always prepared to update my skill set. 


  Kim Priest

  1. I think the protection and restoration of our rivers, streams, estuaries, lakes, ponds,waterways, foreshores, oceans, seas.. for the ecco systems they provide, the resources they provide and the foodsource they provide. This needs to be considered holistically, including the detrimental effects of runoff. This needs to include, but not necessarily be limited to.. pastoral concerns, dumping and refuse contamination via leaching and direct contamination, Industrial contamination and I'm sure, a whole lot more.

  2. Swiftly. Intensively. Invest in research and development in areas such as eco- agriculture and other initiatives like eco- recycling plants at the same time as creating and enforcing catch limits, reserves and other initiatives to protect resources before they are lost to overproduction or climate change. As I stated above. I firmly believe we should be inovatores in this area. We are the 'fruitbowl' of New Zealand!! We pride ourselves on our natural bounty, but we are not doing enough to ensure our soils remain productive, our waters remain clean and balanced or our produce remains pure of contaminants.

  3. I think my honest answer would be... I'm not sure. As a newbie to council, I have no idea what committees I will be on, if I get to choose them or are they allocated, how much of a voice I may end up having. All I can promise is that I can be pretty tenacious when I need to be, and I don't tolerate bullies in the slightest, even if they are in a position of direct power over me. I tend to research and make balanced decisions and I will always make those decisions with the opinions of my constituents at heart.

  4. Though electric buses and taxi fleets (as well as council cars)are the initial answer to lower emissions, I do not believe they are the whole answer. Mostly because the production of and recycling of the batteries involved are so destructive unto themselves. I feel more research and development is required (globally) on this issue. I have entirely other policies I would like to explore when it comes to transport, but these areas are around findability, accessibility and affordability for the elderly and the disabled.

  5. This is an area I would love to throw myself into! Firstly, as stated above, Lids for the recycling bins are a must... and so achievable!!! There are in use examples available in other countries. Also as stated above, I worked in second hand retail for many years. During that time I was involved in independent council research into recycling plant options and ideas, and again, overseas has some amazing working options, but they are expensive, so the work would be in making them a priority! There are plenty of energetic people with amazing ideas for local upcycling and recycling opportunities, we just need to tap into that as a priority!!!

  6. This is one of those areas I would need to do some research in... I certainly believe that a whole lot more could be done, from solar, insulation, hydro and wind as resources, but they would need to be handled differently for implementation for individual home, business, public buildings and city / country wide options. But a priority it is. The use of coal and other unsustainable fossil fuels is not only damaging in its use and production, but also arrogant in its availability. They will get harder and harder to find and obtain with each generation causing more earth damage in the process.

  7. Again, research required here. But without the benefit of research... my question is, why aren't we going up? Not necessarily looking at high density apartment living that would encourage close quarter disgruntlement, but certainly family friendly living centers that could take advantage of higher capita on a smaller footprint? This is my question, not policy.... As said, research is required.

  8. The short answer is no.Nothing at that level. At a club or community level yes, but nothing at this level. And short again, yes, I am most certainly aware that I would have a lot to learn to ensure my judgments are measured, comprehensive, fair and prioritised. I would commit to this for the full three years of my elected term! I have a lot to learn, I know this. There are certainly areas that my knowledge and experiences don't cover. But I have the time to dedicate to the cause. I may be naive about what is going to be a rather large learning opportunity, but I have the passion and drive to see it through, so I can serve those I represent, ensuring their perspective is always considered at every decision making process and tabled at every council initiative.


  Kevin Watkins

  1. Issues around climate change. We have been very lucky to dodge a few bullets but I am sure our turn will come to face either extreme drought or severe flooding  be it coastal or inland

  2. In depth studies of effects of such events, in particular does our infrastructure have capacity and if not how do we address this as quickly as possible.

  3. Tracking emerging weather patters and aligning to my answer of question 2.

  4. Priorities for transport is the movement from A to B, be it passenger or freight in the shortest time and the most direct route. Busing people from Hastings to Napier should not take more than 25 minutes, some routes currently way over an hour. I believe cyclists require safety and separation from road vehicles. IN my mind inner CBD will never be a functional safe ride for cyclists. Best examples of cyclists doing what they love to do best is the coastal cycle tracks well away from other competing road users. More electric cars will be on the roads as technology improves and costs decrease.

  5. Still a way to go in reduction of materials arriving at our Transfer stations and landfill. Opportunities around separation of food waste like the  collection service we have now for domestic and commercial refuse.

  6. We live in a region with some of the highest sunshine hours in the country.. tap into that with solar

  7. One of biggest issues is managing the interface between a fast growing urban population and a growing Industry and protection of our versatile soils for hort production. Regional Spatial Plan a good   starting tool, Medium density strategy in the HDC District Plan to encourage more infill and up to three storey in height. That can be done without encroaching on amenity space.. its going to take a mind shift in peoples thinking, done well will add huge value.

  8. Have not but more than happy to engage.


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