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Great Barrier Island Community Board Candidates Quizzed

GBI Environmental News examines their ‘green’ credentials
Each candidate was asked this same set of questions:
Q.1: What is the primary reason you are standing for the CB?
Q.2: What would you do to support local environmental groups if you were voted onto the Community Board?
Q.3: What stance do you think the Community Board should take on environmental issues?
Q.4: How much priority do you give environmental issues in the scheme of things?
Q.5: Do you think Great Barrier Island would benefit from having no rats?

Candidate: Wayne Anderson
Profile: Aged 43, a full-time resident who has lived here for the past thirteen years. He is currently running a charter fishing business, has been involved with the volunteer fire force, and is the present skipper of the Tryphena-based rescue craft.

Q.1: I am a little worried about the way the island is headed. I think that those who live in the community need to be on the board, to be able to ‘put their five cents worth in’.
My concerns are with the declining (full-time) population and with the real estate speculation that is going on.

Q.2: I would help them with funding issues which I think is important, and I would attempt to steer (such) environmental initiatives into employing local people.

Q.3: I think consultation is very important, that local community are adequately consulted on any decision that the CB makes. I would need to address each environmental issue separately.

Q.4: Very high.

Q.5: Yes I do but I have concerns about 1080 (as a method of eradication) and feel that everyone must be happy before such methods are used. But for the community having no rats would be fantastic. I am sick of rats damaging my house.
Secondly, although I do not see Tourism as the most important industry on the Island, (an eradication of rats) will certainly enhance the eco-island image and make for a more saleable tourism destination.

Candidate: Izzy Fordham
Profile: Izzy has had one term as a CB member, is 53 years old, a full time land-owning resident of some 18 years, who manages the Claris Sports Club.

Q.1: Because I believe it is absolutely vital for Great Barrier Island to retain its identity. I’m passionate about this place.

Q.2: I would like to support such community initiatives providing there was transperancy and communication. These would be the prime things I would look for. Once you have this, then you would have both the community and the board on side.

Q.3: The Board is able to adopt two positions: it can help initiate ideas; and also act in a supporting role as well. The magic thing is marrying them all together. Once you have a united voice then you have a lot of strength .

Q.4: Environmental issues are important to me, that is why I live where I do. But it’s not just about flora and fauna, but also about humans and finding a balance that works.

Q.5: The obvious answer is yes but, we would need people to maintain the programme. We have such a large and diverse population (with many transient persons) that I don’t know whether total eradication is possible. I wonder whether that goal is too high and too demanding and perhaps a management approach would be a better initial move. I am a firm believer in setting goals that you can achieve.

Candidate: Richard Somerville-Ryan
Profile: Richard is a permanent resident of GBI for the last year, but a landowner since the nineties, who has considerable experience overseas as a consultant.

Q.1: I am standing in order to try to get a district plan for Great Barrier which is fair and workable. I am concerned that next year the district plan is coming up for review and that without representatives focused on the needs of the community we may “miss the boat” in a planning sense.

Q.2: I would give groups an opportunity to bring proposals to the community board where they could use that forum to ensure widespread community consultation for their ideas, and avoid the alienation that has occurred over issues in the past.

Q.3: I think the community board has to provide above all, a forum where issues can be debated, to ensure no one group proceeds without adequate mandate.

Q.4: Personally I give environmental issues an extremely high priority, but I am personally frustrated at the bureaucratic impediments and costs that Auckland City impose on my own environmental initiative here on GBI.

Q.5: Visions are easy but here in a population that feels itself threatened, getting collective community buy-in to the technical side of an eradication is another story. Nobody likes rats but nor do I support huge poison drops. Is it possible to have a rat free island — I hope so, How do we get there — I really don’t know the answer to that one.

Candidate: Paul Downie
Profile: Paul is a permanent resident of GBI, a landowner and immediate past member of the Community Board, a keen scuba diver, fisherman and boatie.

Q.1: I was prepared to stand for a second term but also needed the support of Geraldine, my wife. She kindly lodged my nomination papers with Council at the 11th hour. It’s a very time consuming task, especially with the new proposed district plan. We are very much under resourced and thin on the ground for representatives to deal with the submission process. This district plan will define the economic future for the island through to 2020 — it’s a huge issue (to deal with).

Q.2: At a personal level we have contracted LWHT in the past to undertake predator control on our own properties and since moving to the Island have undertaken this activity ourselves. With our encouragement our neighbouring properties are now doing the same. I would certainly encourage and support others with similar endeavours.

Q.3: I think the CB does have a special role — we have groups right throughout the community approaching the CB for support and advocacy. But at the end of the day the CB does not have much political power — it is there in an advocacy role and in representing the interests of this community at large.

Q.4: As 70% of the Island is controlled by the Department of Conservation, and realistically without any other initiatives we would see much of the Island reverting to its natural state. There is however a need for this to be balanced against the need for economic activity, not just a one-eyed focus on environmental protection at the expense of people’s ability to make a living on the Island.

Q.5: That is something that I don’t know. With the district plan that is with us at the present time, there are controls and rules that almost require a resource consent for any activity. That is a very expensive and onerous task that most simply cannot afford. Total eradication of rats may well bring another level of controls and rules on top of that which could make it just about impossible to live here.
Without knowing the extent of those regulations I could not say.
For a Community Board representative the issue is primarily trying to balance the competing interests of different parties on the Island. That is the challenge.

Candidate: Gordon Barrett
Profile: Age 45, a full time resident and land-owner of Tryphena since 1985.

Q.1: I am concerned for the implementation of a fair and equitable district plan.
Q.2: I think environmental incentives should be provided to landowners to create win-win situations rather than implied threats of loss of property rights.

Q.3: As a representative of this community, I think there is a need to communicate with special interest groups within the community — pretty much most of the people on this island have conservation views

Q.4: Personally I see it as quite a high priority and but I see persons’ rights and property rights as paramount.

Q.5: I would like to see my property rat-free one day — but it is the methodology (for an eradication) that must be agreed upon by all the landowners on the island.

Candidate: Christina Spence
Profile: Christina is well known for her work with Aotea Family Support Group - aged 38, and a resident of GBI for some 27 years.

Q.1: I want to make a difference in this community and be a voice (on the Board) for members of the public.

Q.2: This would depend on what they present at the time — it would be on a case by case basis.

Q.3: Without juristiction or political power in the matter I think they (the CB) should keep their nose out of it, as there are lots of other agencies available but I think the Board definitely has a role to play in Community consultation in such issues.

Q.4: Very high.

Q.5: Definitely it would. However adequate face to face consultation would be essential for community acceptance.

Candidate Mickey O’Shea declined to answer the questions.

Candidate: Teresa Manion-Wood
Teresa has been a teacher and resident and ratepayer on GBI for some 15 years, has had previous experience in hospital administration and local tourism.

Q.1: I care about the island strongly, in particular about the people. Being on the community board is one way I can help people and help strengthen the fabric of our community.

Q.2: I would listen carefully to their concerns, and keep myself versed with their meeting agendas and minutes so that I could be well informed of their endeavours.

Q.3: My understanding is that as people we are part of the natural world, and it is in our interests (and in our future generations’ interests) that we care for our environment, as it is the very cocoon that feeds and sustains us.

Q.4: I don’t think it is a matter of ‘taking a stance’. First and fore-most is taking care of the Island, and as part of nature people are part of that equation.

Q.5: I think the work of the Little Windy Hill Trust is providing an example of the benefits of the removal of rats from the equation. Other groups are also following their example. Any eradication procedures need to be carefully balanced within the food chain and any side effects carefully researched. The community must be allowed to make an informed decision.