Carter raises hand for council role

By Hayley Gastmeier hayley.gastmeier@age.co.nz -
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Featherston Community Board chairwoman Lee Carter wants a chair on the South Wairarapa District Council. PHOTO/FILE
Featherston Community Board chairwoman Lee Carter wants a chair on the South Wairarapa District Council. PHOTO/FILE

Featherston Community Board chairwoman Lee Carter has confirmed she is competing for a place on the South Wairarapa District Council.

She said she received a "vote of confidence" after a bid to remove her from the chair of the Featherston Community Board was defeated at a public meeting in February.

The Anzac Hall meeting, packed with her supporters from across Wairarapa, resulted in a tied vote between board members, allowing Mrs Carter to retain her position.

"I consider this as a vote of confidence that I've been doing something right to gain that kind of support," Mrs Carter said.

She said her decision to run for council was made when Featherston businesswoman Liz Mellish confirmed she was seeking the South Wairarapa mayoralty.

Of New Zealand, Irish and Samoan decent, Mrs Carter was raised in Featherston.

She moved to Wellington as a teenager, and then back to Wairarapa, settling in Martinborough with her husband, Robert, for 18 years.

The couple moved back to Featherston about eight years ago. The mother of four and grandmother of three said she was "committed to the future of Featherston and our district, because it's the future of our children and the children to come".

Mrs Carter has taken the commuter train to Wellington for 18 years.

She has 16 years experience within government departments, including the Treasury, Ministry of Research Science and Technology, Ministry of Primary Industries and Internal Affairs.

"I totally understand the bureaucracy councils are ladened with, however, I'm very much a keep it simple, make it happen person," Mrs Carter said.

"Working with high level leaders and managers for many years has made me appreciate what a difference good leadership can make."

She said during her lifetime she had developed many skills and qualities that would assist her in being an able councillor.

"I see a massive positive change ahead which is going to transform our district and I'm super excited about the great opportunities that are going to arise from a new council."

As well as the South Wairarapa mayor, Adrienne Staples, stepping down, many of the district's sitting councillors are not seeking re-election in October.

Mrs Carter said with the new council she would more consultation with ratepayers.

"[I want to see] more people being heard, more democracy in action, more evidence based decisions, and more council operational and governance areas engaging with people on all levels.

"I believe there needs to be massive change in how the council represents the people and I want to be a part of making that change happen."

Mrs Carter said she was not afraid to speak out and wanted to see the council leading more "sustainable initiatives" which could be followed region-wide.

"I want people to live in a happy safe town, to be able to afford to pay their rates and get something back from them.

"I want to be honest about what we are doing as a council and for people to know about it.

"I want businesses to thrive, infrastructure to be improved, and water quality to be excellent."

Mrs Carter said she wanted South Wairarapa residents "to have a good experience" every time they dealt with the council.

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