Seven candidates are running in the upcoming Hastings District Council Hastings-Havelock North ward byelection. Hawke's Bay Today is profiling each candidate. Today we feature Eileen Lawson.
Eileen Lawson is standing for council with a desire for Hastings to be the best place it can be to bring up families and support them to flourish and thrive.
She moved with her family from Wellington to Hawke's Bay 20 years ago in order to raise her children, attracted to the region her husband was born in that offered such as a good climate and open spaces.
For the last 10 years, she and her husband had run their business, Lawson Valuation, and she brought with her an extensive background in business management, mostly in housing, banking and agribusiness, she said.
More recently, she said she had completed an Applied Social Science degree, majoring in counselling, skills she started putting to use at the Heretaunga Women's Centre, of which she had been chairwoman for the past two years.
Good employment, good housing, good education and a safe, clean environment, were pillars she said were important to achieve her vision for the Hastings District.
"Creating employment is about providing strategies and policies around infrastructure that create the right environment, the right spaces where business wants to set up here and employ local people.
"Council also needs to support and be involved in local training initiatives for our young people so they can fill those jobs and see that there's a future."
Sound policies were also critical to ensuring a healthy, sustainable environment, including a safe, clean water supply, she said.
Keen to lobby central government for a share of the recently announced Regional Development Fund, she also saw a need to collaborate with the government, NGOs and providers in order to provide the housing needed in the district, she said.
Collaborating with other councils to achieve a united vision and encourage outside investment was another goal she would bring to the table, if elected, she said.
"We can use other councils' success stories and models for our district, and with all our local councils work together to achieve a joint vision for Hawke's Bay."
Underpinning such aims, she said it was important to have a stimulating environment, from invigorating the Hastings CBD to the many parks and reserves and other public spaces, and for council to assist community groups to provide people a safe place to live.
The skills she could bring to council included her background in business management and governance, as well as a desire to look for solutions, she said.
"It's not about blame, it's about identifying the issues and what needs to be done to address them.
"I have also got a lot of common sense and determination."