Chris Te Whare
Response to questionnaire:
Kia ora how are you all? Sorry for the late response. Questionnaire attached
[Chris Te Whare email 12 Sep 19]
1/ What inspired you to stand/continue as a Councillor?
Kia ora, my background as both a teacher Police officer and Community board member in Turangi for 6 years has encouraged me to stand again. I believe in good strong open communication and that Taupo is a great safe place to live, work and play. Council has the ability and role to lead the district.
2/ How would you represent ratepayers against ever growing bureaucracy of Local Government and in particular the CEO / management’s increasing control over councillors?
Representing ratepayers is why we are elected. We are their voice. We must ensure that all decisions made are fully explored and implications both short, medium and long term are considered and must be for the common good. We must ask questions
3/ Will you investigate cost cutting measures such as a restructuring of council staff and salaries?
Efficiency in spending needs to be a priority. As with some of your example’s money could have been better spent and better planning done prior to spending.
4/ List evidence of your skills, qualifications and experience that gives you the confidence to represent ratepayers on Council?
6years on the community Board in Turangi were we together won an award for our community plan. 21 years on various school Boards of Trustees including one year as Chairperson. The last two years as Chairperson of a Childcare Trust in Taupo.
5/ What are your governance, financial and critical analysis skills?
As above in terms of governance and finance for school budgets and financial planning
6/ With the District currently enjoying a growth phase, where should the priorities of capital expenditure be? What are the priorities for Taupo's future?
A stocktake of our infrastructure so we are futureproofing moving forward as much as possible
A second bridge
A signature playground celebrating all we have to offer in our district with elements from every part (like our Council logo and the 3 colours).
Continued exploration of the possibility of a bikeway between Taupo and Turangi
7/ The Council vision is to be the most prosperous and liveable District in the North island. Would you as a Councillor have conflict between tourism and outdoor activity promotion and improving core services on behalf of residents?
All these activities go hand in hand and must be considered singularly and together so that we have a balanced forward moving community where people are consulted and informed of future progress. Together we can achieve more.
8/ Councils by law can increase the Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC) to 30% of total rates revenue. The UAGC is $250 per rateable unit which in 9.13% of total rates revenue (17/18). Would you support increasing UAGC to a higher level with an ultimate target of 30%?
Any rise must be justified and considered. I would support a review of our rates which also is part of Question 9 which is about fairness and relevance. There is a lot of scope in this area which need to be researched and presented well
9/ Is the Council differential rating mechanism reflecting services and benefits across the district ratepayers?
10/ Taupo Council has one of the highest debt to ratepayer ratios of all Councils; do you agree with the Long-Term Plan projected debt increase and have confidence that we ratepayers support this policy?
Debt needs to be managed and reduced so we are moving forward with justified expenditure that has been well researched.
11/ Do you agree with the current policy re the Maori Wards?
Currently anyone to stand for these elections to represent the community in which we live. I am happy with this. My understanding is that the Maori Wards option will be reviewed in the next 3 years. More important are having positive open communication with iwi and other community organisations.
12/ What is your analysis of the $40m ‘Cultural Centre’ project, particularly in reference to the $474k spent on consultants before the Reserves Act was researched, showing no commercial activities allowed?
This could have been done so much better and seems to be one of haste rather than considered options. The research should have been done in house first before the consultants were engaged in the process.
13/ What is your analysis of the ‘Northern Corridor Improvements’ project (costing $900k)?
Again, a project that should be part of a far broader transport strategy. Cheaper options could/should have been explored and a transport strategy is a must for the incoming council to address and complete. Infrastructure under roads should be part of this as well as the second bridge and cycleways.
14/ What is your preferred option for the CAB (Council Administration Building) and why? Include reference to building or leasing.
From what I have read leasing seems to be a far cheaper option. Having an underground carpark makes little sense if we already have parking available. With possible reviews to our rating system, infrastructure and prioritising a positive way forward these are more important issues currently.
15/ During your time as a Councillor what is the highlight, the one achievement on behalf of ratepayers, that you have personally driven?
For me as a community board member being able to bring the Turangi skateboard Park to fruition was a fantastic highlight. Having supported this project with artwork and student involvement it was immensely satisfying to see this space completed. To also be part of a Community Board that won a national award for our community board plan was also recognition that people can work together well by having defined roles, enthusiasm and a will to get things done was also a highlight.