'People person' willing to take a stand when it counts

By Roger Moroneyroger moroney@hbtoday co nz

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Napier City Council candidate Steve Gibson said while he may be a "newbie" to the region, having moved here last year, he had arrived with plenty of new ideas, plenty of enthusiasm and plenty of local body skills.

He and his wife and three children had been living in Darwin where he served with the Northern Territory Police for three years - he had previously been based in the Manawatu during his 24 years of policing.

While in the Manawatu he was elected to the district council in 2007 after receiving more votes than any other councillors on the back of a campaign to reduce rates, which he helped achieve, and in 2010 he stood successfully again.

In 2012 he ran for the Manawatu District Council mayoralty in a bi-election and just missed out by six votes.

Seeking a change of landscape, and always keen for a challenge, the family moved to Darwin, and while there he saw what a committed council could do in terms of advancing and enhancing business, growth and tourism.

While living in Darwin he was also appointed to the local district council as chairperson to the Independent Audit Committee which he served for two years.

"My experience in these Councils has given me some great ideas where we could add value to Napier," he said, adding that when they decided it was time to come home Hawke's Bay easily got the nod and they have bought the lease to the Fern Motel in Tamatea.

He said Darwin had two water parks complimenting, rather than competing with each other, a wave pool and a separate water-park with hydro slides.

Napier's aquatic landscape needed a major injection, he said.

"The Napier Aquatic Centre could do with another big ticket item such as a wave pool or Olympic-sized pool - complimenting the regions current aquatic centres," Mr Gibson said.

"Yes they are expensive but they will draw people regionally and further abroad to help pay for the running costs, while encouraging our kids to be more active".

Mr Gibson would also like to see Napier City grow their current markets.

"Darwin had a world class market at Mindle Beach with hundreds of stalls ranging from arts and crafts to a wide variety of cuisine - with our region's similar population, Napier has a huge potential to encourage a wider and larger variety of stall holders at our markets"

He is also a strong advocate for creating safer communities as well as looking closely at the housing crisis and how councils can assist.

Mr Gibson said he was very impressed with Napier rejecting amalgamation, as he too opposed the Manawatu District Council being taken over by Palmerston North.

"I am proud to be a resident of Napier, New Zealand's most fiscally sustainable council, long may it continue with sustainable growth and affordable rates."

He described himself as a committed "people person" and wanted to bring fresh ideas to council, adding he was not afraid to take a stand where it mattered.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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