Chris is a new candidate, standing for the council for the first time in the Eureka ward. He says the time is right for some new people on the council.
“With all the things happening in the Waikato and around the district at the moment, there’s a lot of opportunity but also things we need to manage well. The growth in Auckland will put pressure on our district, but it will also bring some great opportunities for us. The same goes for the new Waikato Expressway. Eighty percent of that is being built in our district,” he says.
“My wife and I made a positive choice to leave Auckland and come back to the Waikato over a year ago. I’d grown up in Hamilton, went to school and university here and spent a lot of my adult life working in industries in the Waikato. The timing seemed right to come back – and we’re loving it. I have now reached a stage where I have time and energy to give back and I want to get involved and make a difference in our district.”
Chris says although he’s never been a councillor before, he spent 10 years working in Auckland local government. “It was one of the most interesting jobs I’ve ever had, I loved the interaction with the public. I know how things work at councils and how to get things done. Most of my work was in the infrastructure area managing projects for councils,” he says.
But it is communities that he’s keen to focus on if he is elected to represent the Eureka ward on the district council.
“You’ve got all these great little villages. People want communities – but they lead busy lives – and it’s working out how we enhance the centres that really do bring people together. I want to bring the ‘local’ back into local government, by listening to what communities say they want.”
He says he thinks people still want councils to do the basics well – roads, rubbish and key infrastructure.
“But they also want something more and I am keen to listen and learn what aspirations and concerns local residents have that I can help with if I am elected.
“Although I will try to be councilor for the Eureka ward, my focus would be the ward first, the district second and the region third because we’re part of a much larger picture; there’s huge implications with Auckland knocking on our door.”
For the last six months he has run a small business in the old Gordonton dairy factory, buying and selling machinery. He has a lifestyle block on Waring Rd, where he runs a small flock of Pitt Island Sheep.
“These guys are tough, not your namby pamby sheep. They’re like a cross between goats and sheep; they climb trees. The meat is very lean and fine-grained, a bit like beef.”
Chris says his past community work includes being a trustee of Parentline; founding member and past president of the Hamilton Mountain Bike Club and a trustee of a Hamilton day care centre.
“It is important for people to take the time to vote in council elections. Councils affect your daily life more than central government in many ways – and yet the voter turnout is always so much lower. I’d really encourage people to vote, and if they give me their vote, I’ll be in there to make a difference.”