Candidate puts hand up for a council seat

By Ged Cann

Add a comment
Siggy Henry.  Photo / supplied
Siggy Henry. Photo / supplied

Another contender in the upcoming local body elections is Siggy Henry, who will run as an environmental advocate.

Mrs Henry said a main focus of her campaign will be championing an ecotourism approach for the city.

She has a degree in tourism and worked in the hospitality trade around Europe. She now works as a health and wellness coach in the city.

"Coming from Europe you're seeing different things. I see we can do a lot more in ecotourism. It's a big thing today ... finding a niche for Hamilton and the Waikato besides Hobbiton to attract people to come and check out our city."

Mrs Henry said the the pulling power of ecotourism is highlighted in her home, which is a strawbale house. She hosts a room on Airbnb and said the environmental building method was an attraction for lodgers.

"It's a big thing and people just haven't touched it. That's my focus - how we can bring people into the city.

"Have you ever been on the ninth floor of the Council building? Hamilton is green. I've always had that vision of making Hamilton into the clean green place that we are calling New Zealand," she said.

Mrs Henry is a firm supporter of incumbent Mayor Julie Hardaker, and praised the departing mayor for her work on children's playgrounds and cycleways around the city.

"Because I'm a trustee at Parent's Place I love the playgrounds they're building. Because I work in health and wellness I love the walkways and the cycleways. They have started some really good stuff and I want to see that carried on. Maybe even have more added on," she said.

Her previous actions in regards to Council have been to protest widespread pesticide use and she supports removal of fluoride from Hamilton's mains water.

She was also involved in the protests over the building of Claudelands Event Centre.

"They all looked down on us protesters, but I knew it would cost us a fortune for the rest of our lives," she said.

She supported the Founders Theatre process, which is currently in its public consultation phase to gather opinion on demolition, refurbishment or rebuild, but said there needed to be greater emphasis on the true cost to the current and future ratepayers.

If elected Mrs Henry said she would be a full-time councillor, and she criticised some sitting members for reaping a salary of more than $70,000 and doing very little work.

"They get paid a fortune to sit there, and some don't turn up or they're there but they don't listen, they just wait. Once of them leaves to pick up her children from school. It's just disgusting to me."

"You have to go to functions, you have to do things, it's not just a hobby at the amount they get paid."

The councillor in question, Karina Green, has been criticised in the past for leaving Council meetings early and being away during school holiday periods.

Mrs Green said she was a mother first and foremost and would not apologise for leaving early.

"It's extremely hard for me as a working mother when our council meetings all start at 1:30 in the afternoon. They are not family-friendly hours.

"I have all day to sit in meetings but the mayor decided the meetings would start at 1.30, so I'm in a tough situation where I can't always rely on outside resources to pick my children up."

"That would be my response; keep it in context. If the meetings started at nine o'clock I would be there. I don't walk out of those meetings pleased to be walking out. I do feel bad for leaving but I have a responsibility as a parent."

Having spoken annually at council, Mrs Henry also voiced umbrage at how members treated those in the public forum.

"They don't listen, some of them. They have their laptops open and they check their Facebook," she said.

Mrs Henry has in the past closed councillor Ewan Wilson's laptop during session.

"I said 'I have only come here for five or 10 minutes, they can give me that courtesy to listen'," she said.

Mrs Henry came to New Zealand 30 years ago and has three children, all in their late 20s, and is an active member of the Rotary.

She said Hamilton held a special place for her, being both rural and having everything a city needs.

Mrs Henry said her campaign would be completely self-funded.

- Hamilton News

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 01 Oct 2016 10:06:59 Processing Time: 618ms