Candidate stands for a Tararua council independent of others

By Christine McKay

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Dannevirke's Chris Southgate is standing for the Tararua District Council in the north ward.
Dannevirke's Chris Southgate is standing for the Tararua District Council in the north ward.

Rural New Zealand needs strong, independent governance with district councillors willing to stand up against central government, Tararua District Council candidate Chris Southgate says.

Mr Southgate served three terms as a district councillor, before missing out in 2013.

"When I didn't get on council three years ago I left behind unfinished business," he said.

"Now I've had a lot of encouragement from people across the board to stand again.

"Our new district council could have a lot of new faces around the table, but there needs to be a balance between experienced and new councillors.

"I want to carry on the work in forestry as there is clearly a need for someone with knowledge in that industry."

Mr Southgate said councils should have the right to control their own assets and maintain the life of their community and he sees the Local Government Commission Amendment Bill No2 as a move to take over council's core infrastructure and services and put them into CCOs (council-controlled organisations).

"It's the same with the Fire Service restructuring. Rural fire assets are being grabbed without compensation," he said.

"It all adds another layer of management and governance which is already paid for."

Mr Southgate said he was passionate about Tararua retaining its independence and saw no evidence amalgamation with any council would benefit us.

"We must not let the district be fragmented and picked off. We need to be a united council as together we are stronger."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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