Archive for the ‘What I Believe’ Category

I’m Standing Again

1 March 2016

santa parade 2015 017 (2)

I have decided to stand for re-election to the Waimakariri mayoralty later this year.

It has been a privilege to serve in Waimakariri’s response and recovery after the earthquakes.  Our community and council have showed tremendous unity of purpose and have agreed on the priorities that we needed to set.  While we are not out of it yet, the way community groups, business and property owners, council staff and my elected colleagues have worked together has taken us a long way forward.

Over the last two council terms since the earthquakes a number of major repair and replacement projects have been completed by the Council, including the Ruataniwha Kaiapoi Civic Centre, the Kaiapoi Aquatic Centre, the Rangiora and Oxford Town Halls, the Rānui Mews housing for the elderly complex in Kaiapoi, the former Rangiora Borough Council Chamber and the Trousselot Park playground and skate park, also in Kaiapoi.  Major repairs have also been carried out on war memorials in Cust and West Eyreton and on many pavilions and community buildings.  While not earthquake-related, a new bridge across the Ashley has been completed.

Within the next few months, major upgrades of Williams Street Kaiapoi and High Street Rangiora will be completed, following a long period of keeping town centre business alive through the use of temporary buildings, particularly in Rangiora.  There is a strong sense of anticipation in both towns.

In looking forward over the next three years, I see a continuation of the flood remediation work started in the second half of 2014 which should bring greater security for such areas as Fernside, Mandeville, Ohoka, Rangiora and Kaiapoi.

All of this has been against a background of unprecedented population and housing growth caused mainly by the red-zoning of about 7000 residential properties in Christchurch and Kaiapoi in the latter part of 2011.  While our underground infrastructure has been able to cope, there has obviously been a lot of traffic congestion. This has been caused by the unanticipated red-zone population shift getting ahead of planned motorway building in Christchurch.

I see at least two areas of work that will continue into the next Council term.  Staff and contractors have made great progress in repairing infrastructure and that will continue and should be helped by the finalising of the Red Zone Recovery Plan currently out for consultation. Working with the Government on that Plan is another major piece of work and is likely to continue into the new term.  I want to be part of that.

I have found the last five-and-a-half years working with our community a tremendously rewarding experience on a personal level. While many have been through very tough times, and in some cases still are, I am one of the many who feel that they have been able to make a contribution. I don’t feel that I have finished yet.

Authorised by D L Ayers, 279 High Street, Rangiora 7400

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The Future of ECan

7 January 2014

On New Year’s Day there was an article in The Press on the future of Environment Canterbury, currently governed by Government-appointed commissioners.  I was quoted with a couple of lines from an interview that went for about ten minutes.

I strongly support a return to a fully-elected Canterbury Regional Council (ECan) but it seems to me that a mixture of elected (the majority) and appointed ECan members could be a way to go for the 2016 elections before getting back to a fully elected body in 2019.  I haven’t been a member of Amnesty International for 35 years to not believe in democratic rights.

People need to realise that of the current Canterbury mayors, only one (Kelvin Coe of Selwyn) was a mayor at the time the commissioners were put into Ecan in 2010.  There is now a very different group of people in place.

One problem that ECan has always had to deal with is that the major part of their work (water and land)  actually happens in rural areas and affects farmers in particular.  Individually, farmers pay substantial rates to ECan, although the total rates paid into Ecan mainly come from the urban area of Christchurch – it’s just that Christchurch has so many ratepayers, each paying a relatively small amount.  That also means that the voting power lies with Christchurch. In my observation, most of the opposition to the insertion of commissioners came from urban voters, because of the loss of democracy, and most of the support came from rural voters, because they felt that they had been having little say in how their rates were being spent.

I think the model of the Water Zone Committees, which are community committees jointly appointed by ECan and the relevant District councils (we have just one in Waimakariri, covering the whole District) has possibilities for the future.  These bring together farming, environmental and recreational interests and so far they are working well. If that model works, the greater voting power of urban Christchurch shouldn’t be an issue.

Minister Adams came to the last Canterbury Mayoral Forum and didn’t indicate any Government preferences.  It is entirely possible that the Government does not yet have a view, because she came to ask questions, not to tell us anything.  What is different from 2010, is that I will be doing my level best to make this discussion a public one that all Canterbury people have access to.

Despite what was said in the same article, I don’t detect a desire on the part of the mayors to do away with ECan.  Christchurch has long argued that they want to be a unitary authority, but I haven’t heard Lianne express a view herself.  Some of the other councils are arguably big enough to be unitary authorities (Waimakariri, Selwyn, Timaru, Ashburton) but others (Kaikoura, Hurunui, Mackenzie, Waimate, Waitaki) are probably not.  Talking about unitary authorities thus leads to a discussion about amalgamations, which I don’t think many in Canterbury want.  I certainly don’t.  There is the other problem that water is Canterbury’s big issue but the main rivers (Waimakariri, Rakaia, Rangitata, Waitaki) are all, for good community-of-interest reasons, District boundaries. Unitary authorities based on current boundaries would have trouble dealing with the rivers consistently.

One significant ECan function that could be dealt with at a District/City level is public transport.  Timaru is stand-alone anyway, and our main concern with the Christchurch system would be to make sure that Waimakariri and Selwyn have a proper say.

The issues are therefore Canterbury issues, not just Christchurch or even “Greater” Christchurch.

I’m Seeking Re-election to the Waimakariri Mayoralty

1 April 2013

In a speech to the Waimakariri Combined Probus Club, I have announced my intention to seek re-election to the Waimakariri Mayoralty.

You should be able to find the media statement that I have subsequently issued amongst the pages to the right with the title Re-Election Sought – Media Statement 1 April 2013 – or by clicking on the link here.

The speech is also there: Re-Election Sought – Speech to Waimakariri Combined Probus Club 28 March 2013 – or by clicking the link too!

Mayoral Candidacy Announced

7 April 2010
   

    Media Statement Made Today

    

      [see also Biography as at April 2010 under About David Ayers in the list of pages to the right of your screen.]

 

 Long-serving Waimakariri Councillor, David Ayers, has announced that he is standing for the Waimakariri mayoralty in the elections that will be held in September and October this year. 

“The District is ready for positive leadership that acknowledges the District’s strengths and that will get the District back on the path of sustainable development,“  he said. 

“We need leadership that unites the District and doesn’t divide one community from another or urban residents from their rural neighbours.  While acknowledging that local communities have their own proud histories and may have particular interests, we also need to recognise that District facilities available to all will be financed from across the District,” said David Ayers. 

“The significant developments that have started in this current term of the Council, such as new water schemes for Oxford and Rangiora, and the Dudley Park Aquatic centre, were all initiated in the previous term.  The current leadership came into office determined to delay them and was only forced to back-track under pressure of public opinion.  We are sorely in need of forward-looking leadership,” he said. 

“I believe strongly in this District.  Our two largest towns have a long history of integration with the rural community and we now have a great, if challenging, mix of growing towns and townships, large farms and small holdings, beach settlements and rural-residential communities.  We live alongside internationally-significant braided rivers and wonderful beaches and hill country.  Waimakariri is a District of opportunity and this is why so many are coming to live here. 

“We can work together to make this an even better place to live, do business and farm.” 

Cr Ayers is descended from early Woodend settlers. He is the longest serving councillor in the Waimakariri District, having been first elected to the Rangiora Borough Council in 1983.  He stood down under pressure of work in 2001 and then chaired the Rangiora Ward Advisory Board for six years before being re-elected to the Council in 2007. 

He was Deputy Mayor between 1995 and 2001 and chaired Rangiora and Waimakariri District finance and audit committees for twelve years. 

A former Deputy Principal of Rangiora High School, David Ayers is involved in a wide range of community groups including Rotary, Community Watch, the Methodist Church, Ashley Rivercare, North Canterbury Radio Trust and the Waimakariri Arts Council.  He and his wife, Marilyn, also do duty in the local museum and he is an Alternate Civil Defence Controller for the District.  An interest in the District’s history is reflected in his involvement with the restoration group for the Ashley Community Church and with the Rangiora Landmarks group, which puts commemorative plaques on historic buildings. 

For the past three years he has been running an internet blog at davidayers.wordpress.com that many locals have accessed for information. 

“I see my Council involvement and my Mayoral candidacy as an extension of this service to the community,” concluded David Ayers.

Rates and GST

15 March 2010

Don’t forget that the Government’s signalled rise in GST by 2.5% will affect your rates as well as just about everything else.

I have always felt that GST on rates is wrong – a tax on a tax. 

The Government’s response (no matter who is in power) has always been that rates are a charge for services.

There might be a case for saying that some of our rates bills are a charge, e.g. the Kaiapoi water charge, the Eastern Districts sewer charge, the libraries charge across the District – although even then I would argue that these charges are not for services but for the availability of service, i.e. a tax.  There is certainly no case for saying that rates-in-the dollar are a service charge.  The the level of rates varies with the value of one’s property – in other words, rates are a property tax.

Personal Abuse and Local Politics

13 March 2010

 The March issue of the Woodpecker, an informative little bulletin that circulates in the Woodend area, carries a cover story about Woodend School’s new walking bus programme.  Amongst those instrumental in getting it going is Kirstyn Barnett of the Woodend Action Group ( http://www.freewebs.com/woodendaction/  ).

Coincidentally, the letter to the right appeared this week in the Northern Outlook  of Wednesday 10 March.   Kirstyn Barnett has been an excellent advocate for the Woodend community and a has record for getting things done – the sort of person who is eminently qualified to sit on the Woodend-Ashley Advisory Board.

The letter itself is an example of what we can do without in the Waimakariri community.  In my view,  personal abuse has no place in public discourse. As they say, play the ball, not the man (or, in this case, the woman).

Rangiora’s Central Business District: Let’s Do Something About It!

7 August 2009

Something needs to be done about Rangiora’s Central Business District.

We need better planning so that we know where we are going to go over the next 20 years.

The planning needs to involve the entire community (that’s not just Rangiora residents) and it needs to be open.

To help get discussion going, my initial thoughts are in one of the pages posted on the right: click on  Rangiora’s Heart: What Needs to Happen.  


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