Marineland supporter chases spot on council

By Roger Moroney

Napier woman Emily Otto's decision to stand for a place on the Napier City Council could be seen as something of a case of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em".

Mrs Otto has long been a campaigner for Marineland to be reopened as a wildlife and education centre and made it clear yesterday that while that was a core issue, other reasons were behind her decision, after several weeks' contemplation, to seek a council spot.

"It was the people I came across every day that made me think about it," she said.

It was not just the Marineland aspect either, she said.

"I'd be talking to people about that and they would come up with other issues which concerned them, like Westshore and trucks on the parade - and some were saying 'Oh, you should stand for council'."

Since taking up the Friends of Marineland cause more than four years ago, Mrs Otto has been involved in setting up a global website, gained the support of celebrities worldwide, staged marches, organised petitions and made a series of submissions to the council over the friends group's ideals and concerns.

"So I have seen how council works - I've seen how the system works."

Marineland had been the driver but even if it were resolved "one way or the other" before the election she would still stand.

"I just like getting in there and doing things - trying to find solutions - trying to make a difference."

Her family had been supportive, and her three children, particularly daughters Amelia and Brianna, had insisted she stand.

Ex-councillor Harry Lawson had been happy to nominate her, and businessman Rodney Green happy to back that up.

Napier-born Mrs Otto said she loved the city and had been involved in education, tourism and the public service.

"It just feels like the right thing to do," the 44-year-old said, adding she had already come up with what was effectively the "Otto motto" - From Napier, For Napier.


- Hawkes Bay Today

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