Unfinished business for Ruapehu's Horizons rep

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STANDING: Ohakune farmer and commercial vegetable grower Bruce Rollinson wants another term on Horizons Regional Council.
STANDING: Ohakune farmer and commercial vegetable grower Bruce Rollinson wants another term on Horizons Regional Council.

Bruce Rollinson wants to carry on contributing his "practical farming/business" approach to decisions made at Horizons Regional Council.

He's just finishing a first three years representing Ruapehu there, and is standing for re-election. He'll be going head-to-head with nominee John Chapman for one seat.

The work can take up about half his week, but he likes knowing what's happening across the region and working with others. He's been the deputy chairman of the council's audit and finance committee and could be its next chairman, which he would enjoy.

Mr Rollinson is an advocate for less Horizons regulation, where results can be achieved without it. He's advocated getting all the parties to talk together before resource consents are notified, because that can often save cost.

He's a big fan of the "good neighbour" provision in the council's new pest management plan.

It would get landowners to talk to their neighbours about pest issues that cross boundaries, and hopefully resolve them without prosecutions.

Landowners who exceed expectations for compliance could be rewarded, he said, by being allowed to monitor themselves - with random checks. The money saved on compliance could be put into improving environmental outcomes.

He favours "stringent financial control" and a business approach. Horizons rate rises for Ruapehu landowners have been 2.8 per cent, 1.8 per cent and 1.1 per cent while he's been councillor. This year they are half what was proposed in the council's long-term plan.

The contentious One Plan has been a "bruising exercise", Mr Rollinson said, but relationships with landowners are improving. Staff have been told to "put themselves in the farmers' gumboots".

They have been giving consents for scrub clearing and tracks up hills on one site visit, with no fees.

His other worry about the One Plan is that people will say it's not working to improve water quality, without waiting long enough for it to bed in.

"Staff are working very hard at those priority issues," he said.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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