Featherston woman Claire Bleakley will be competing for a seat on the town's community board in the October elections.

The mother-of-five says she is also contemplating standing for South Wairarapa District Council.

Mrs Bleakley said the roles were different and at this stage she was certain she would "really like" being a member of the community board.

"In council you're dealing with rates, roading and sewerage. With the community board you're more centred on your town."


Tomorrow she will be attending the special meeting of the SWDC to consider submissions to the 2016/17 Annual Plan. At the meeting, to be held in the Martinborough council chambers from 9.30am, Mrs Bleakley will address the council with her concerns on the possible sale of South Wairarapa's pensioner flats.

The council has suggested it could sell the pensioner housing it owns in Featherston, Greytown and Martinborough to a community housing provider.

Mrs Bleakley said selling community housing could lead to privatised profits while socialising the cost.

"The reason being given by council is what I think is an excuse to divest itself of its responsibility to its community.

"What it is saying is if we give it to a trust we don't need to worry about it anymore, but there's no protection for the people that community housing was set up for."

Local authorities are not eligible for government-funded rental subsidies for tenants but community housing providers are.

But Mrs Bleakley said that meant the rents for community housing would be raised should they be sold, and the government subsidy would be shouldered by taxpayers.

"What you're actually doing if you're putting the rents up to an unaffordable level for the community is allowing a private institution to raid the taxpayers' and hard earners' pockets.

"There's no protection if the council sells its community housing to a community trust that the trust won't on-sell it, leading to it becoming privatised."

Mrs Bleakley has been a resident of Featherston since 1987.

She said Featherston had a significantly larger population than that of Greytown or Martinborough. If the rates paid to the council were spent in the towns based on the proportion of ratepayers "there would be enough money in Featherston to support our community housing", she said.

In terms of SWDC backing Martinborough and its Waihinga Centre project, Mrs Bleakley said: "Featherston has not been credited with that kind of advancement".

Mrs Bleakley said she was passionate about achieving some "amazing things" for Featherston, should she be elected on to the community board.