Great Barrier Island Community Board
Candidates profile and questionnaire

 
The triennial elections for local government representatives are upon us; GBI has retained its Community Board under the Supercity and ten candidates have nominated for the five positions. Here are the answers of those candidates who chose to reply to our questions.


The Incumbents

PAUL DOWNIE

Paul aged 59 years lists his interests as Scuba diving, fishing, musician, arts, crafts and island history.

A regular visitor to Barrier for the past 40 years he moved here to live eight years ago with his wife Geraldine. Local Board member for the past 6 years and Chairman for the past term.

“I have broad local and international business experience. I am a qualified Resource Consent Hearing Commissioner. I am a strong advocate for an improved regulatory environment that best meets the needs of our community without undue costs.”

Q 1: How do you see progress in biodiversity protection on the island?

There are a number of opportunities available to progress biodiversity protection on GBI.

1. A predator fence across the northern DOC controlled portion of the island would provide a significant predator free zone for our island’s native flora and fauna. This initiative should complement the work already undertaken by Tony Bouzaid on his property.

2. DOC controlled Rakitu Island also could be considered for a predator-free programme.

3. Predator traps should be made available at subsidized pricing (or free) to property owners interested in pursuing pest-control on their own properties.

Q 2: As a person whose vote is mainly determined by performance on environmental issues tell me why I should vote for you?

1. Our stunning biodiversity and natural marine environment is the natural capital of our island and should quite rightly be preserved and protected. We are an island free of stoats, weasels, ferrets, possums, deer, goats hedgehogs and Norwegian rats. Great Barrier’s environment is quite unique in this respect and one of the primary reasons for many of us wanting to make the island our home.

2. However, having been an elected community advocate and representative for the past 6 years I am also aware that “the environment” does not exist in isolation. People and their social, economic and cultural activities are also an important part of the fabric of our environment.

3. Any major environmental protection initiatives that may be contemplated in the future need the collaborative support of our community and local iwi, and should not result in any degradation of cultural, social, economic, and enjoyment rights and use of private property.

IZZY FORDHAM

I am 55 years of age and live at Harataonga with my partner Lance.  I’m a permanent resident of 21 years and a landowner for over 30 years.  I work part-time as an administrator for the Claris Club and am also part of the island’s Volunteer Rural Fire Force.  I have served 2 terms on the Community Board.

Q1. How do you see progress in biodiversity protection on the island?

We do have some biodiversity protection on the island but it is limited and somewhat ad-hoc in fashion.  A number of community and private groups are involved in some impressive work, but if the island is going to be serious about conservation then a strong debate is necessary. 

Our community needs to be consulted with regards to biodiversity protection, especially in relation to priorities, border control, aerial bait drops and the use of poisons.  Once this has been done then the island community and stakeholders can formulate a strategy for the future.

Q2. As a person whose vote is mainly determined by performance on environmental issues tell me why I should vote for you?

I have great respect for my environment and am concerned about the welfare of our planet.  Living on Great Barrier Island lends you to a lifestyle where you become more aware of your immediate surroundings, weather patterns and environment.

I feel we need to be cautious in our approach to development and tourism and plan for the island’s sustainable future.  If we don’t, we stand the chance of losing what we value so much – once it’s lost it’s lost forever.

MICKEY O'SHEA

Eldest son of the O’Shea family of the Awana Valley, Mickey is a life-long resident of Great Barrier and at 48 years old remains a single man. He has served one term on the Board and has a keen and practical interest in the future economic viability of Great Barrier especially for larger landowners.

Q 1.How do you see progress in biodiversity protection on the island?

Progress to date has been effective given the balance of resources (available) to the area. We may now have to increase private sector funded conservation initiatives to alleviate any likely shortfall in the reviewed DoC sector.

Q 2. As a person whose vote is mainly determined by performance on environmental issues tell me why I should vote for you?

Our community is experiencing change being delivered from the outside. If we are to look after our socio-economic wellbeing we need to be ready, pragmatic and flexible. If there is equitable potential for growth in the environmental management industry, we need to keep as much of the wealth accrual capability within our community as at all possible.

RICHARD SOMMERVILLE-RYAN

Richard is a retired management consultant with local and wide international experience in education, training and development, publishing, and corporate change and restructuring. He first visited the Barrier in 1968, and has lived on the Barrier for five years. He is/was a board member in the last Barrier community board. He and his wife Gendie live in Tryphena. They also own a 40 acre pristine bush block for which he has no plans to develop in any economic way whatsoever.


Q 1. How do you see progress in biodiversity protection on the island?

There’s no doubt that we’re going backwards on most species indicators—so complacency is not an option. I think there’s actually general agreement on the island that we have to make progress on getting rid of the introduced pests like rats, feral cats, and rabbits, the African ‘pine’, gorse and other aggressive introduced plant species. None of these can be seen in isolation, and each requires practical funding decisions and management. There are some big ‘risks’ we have to deal with. I am seriously concerned at the significant downsizing in DOC’s field staff on the island. I’ll be focussing on getting detailed key performance measures including biodiversity from DOC, and then monitoring them closely. I think we need to find a more pragmatic approach to the pest-control/poisons debate. A debate based on visions and emotions isn’t helping much. Any option or solution will require complete buy-in from the local community if it is to have a chance of success.

Q 2. As a person whose vote is mainly determined by performance on environmental issues tell me why I should vote for you?

First, I’m pragmatic and I focus on practical incremental steps and achievable goals. One of the first actions of the last board was to increase the initial seed funding for Kaitoke beach restoration—and then we used that to leverage wider commitment and funding to the overall project. That will have long-term benefits. I want to follow that with gorse control at the airport and throughout the island, and I’m concerned at the possible nitrate enrichment in Tryphena harbour. These are practical problems which need a practical response. Second, I think we need to find common ground between the wider community and the trust’s vision. That will require serious political work. However, no local board member can or should be a single-issue candidate, and I don’t think any ‘single issue’ board member will achieve much.

The Prospectives

SUE DALY

I am 55yrs old and married to Tom. We have 5 kids and 4 Granddaughters. I started up Pigeon Post when it was the Post Office, Postbank and Claris Telephone Exchange, and over the years these and other businesses we have developed have morphed and grown and been onsold including Tom Daly Contractor and Hooked on Barrier. My current interest is studying Organic Horticulture through NorthTec at Medlands and loving it – I’m particularly passionate about permaculture.

Q 1: How do you see progress in biodiversity protection on the island?

Progress is painstakingly slow because of the impact of introduced pests, and because of our reluctance to accept our own human impact. We all love our island, but we become divided over methods and limits of protection that we are prepared to accept. Robust local debate and strong open leadership could help us work it out for the benefit of all.

Q 2: What are your environmental aspirations for Great Barrier?

Local ownership of the issues we face i.e. clean streams, clean beaches, minimizing and recycling waste, healthy flourishing habitats for all species, including ourselves. No-one is ever going to come to Gt Barrier for it’s industries and cities, it is that pristine, rugged wilderness thing that we come for. As Greenpeace says of NZ ,”the environment is the economy”. A stunning  environment is not only an utterly worthy goal in itself, I believe it will bring us economic health too.

Q 3: What do you see as having priority in terms of conservation on GB?

I think we have to see conservation as a whole process. If the land, the sea, the wetlands and the coastlines in between are allowed to flourish then many more species of flora and fauna may survive and flourish too. Saving just a few birds or skinks at a time seems like peeing in the wind to me. Save it all. It always comes back to those introduced pests though, and ownership of our own impact.

WAYNE McVICAR

I am a 63yr old Tryphena resident. My group associations are: Chair of the Tryphena Hall Committee, member of Arts and Heritage Trust, GBI Oral History Research Group and GBI Yoga School.

My partner Linda Power and I share a 22 hectare original forest property in Rosalie Bay.  I work as an landscape/artist on the island.

Q 1. How do you see progress in biodiversity protection on the island?

Not much progress at the present time. I think that progress in the future requires the following: More research, education, and consultation with the island’s residents and offshore landowners.
This will allow for more informed debate on our island

Q 2. What are your environmental aspirations for Great Barrier?

To attract more researchers and educational people to the island.

To empower our children with environmental choices and to enjoy swimming in unpolluted water.

Q 3. What do you see as having priority in terms of conservation on GB?

The elimination of wilding pines and the planting of indigenous trees on marginal land.
More consultation and debate with landowners by the Local Board and Authorities.


Editor’s Note: Of the candidates not represented: Christine Spence and Merle White did not reply to my e-mail, Scott Mabey declined to appear and Wayne Anderson was uncontactable.