Councillor's Comment: Seeking intelligent, thoughtful, courageous representatives20/11/2021 11:17am
Consider the kinds of people, and the qualities needed, to lead our community towards a sustainable future and encourage them (or back yourself) to run for local government, writes Councillor Rachel Sanson in the latest Councillor's Comment.
In 2018 my partner, Scott, and I sold the company we’d founded almost 20 years earlier, which worked globally with young adults on leadership, sustainability and community development initiatives. Acknowledging the significant challenges facing us all, including inequity, climate change and biodiversity collapse, we both felt it was time to turn our global focus to local action.
I had always been interested in business and politics improving community outcomes. I thought local government might be a way I could put my skills and passion to best use – serving our community and supporting the transformational changes needed to ensure a future where our children and grandchildren can thrive, not just survive. I am very aware of the privilege and responsibility I now hold, having a seat around this particular decision-making table for this triennium.
My understanding of the scope and breadth of local government responsibility, influence and impact has grown exponentially. Responsibilities which include management of large infrastructure, governance, land-use planning, environmental impact assessment, economic modelling, financial management, and engagement with diverse communities. I’ve also realised that to be relevant and responsive to 21st century challenges, local government needs its own kind of transformation, structurally and representationally.
The Future for Local Government review has just released its interim report. It’s a compelling and hopeful read and I urge you to check it out (futureforlocalgovernment.govt.nz). It talks about the need to: embrace genuine Te Tiriti partnership; prioritise wellbeing for all (including future generations); address environmental degradation; embody open and respectful relationships; and be fair, inclusive, transparent, accountable and agile.
My encouragement to you is, consider the kinds of people, and the qualities needed, to lead our community towards a sustainable future and encourage them (or back yourself) to run for local government. Elections are in October 2022. It’s not too early to start – I spent a year preparing to run for the role: researching, upskilling, connecting, and campaigning. There’s lots of useful information here, taituara.org.nz/local-elections-2022 and lgnz.co.nz/local-government-in-nz.
If you have questions about what the role entails, you are welcome to contact me, or another elected representative of your choice: nelson.govt.nz/council/mayor-councillors