With the election just weeks away, I’ve been out warming up the shoe leather again - hearing from locals about what matters to them.
Sometimes it is the big things. Like doing our bit to solve the climate crisis and enjoy the benefits of a low carbon economy.
And sometimes it is the little things. Like cleaning up a grotty corner, or trimming a tree.
But over and over, one thing comes through loud and clear.
People expect and deserve to have their local services, streets and facilities up to a high standard, and to know a watchful eye is kept on Council spending.
But is that all we should expect from our Council? Absolutely not. We can and should expect Council to work with the community to develop a shared vision and drive for a future with a healthy environment home to a thriving city home to happy people. A positive place where people choose to stay, work, live and play.
Setting ourselves on that trajectory is the great challenge. To often, today’s demands trump fair investment in our future. This sometimes tyranny of the present at the expense of the future, mixed with a dose of greed and lax representation over generations, has led to the climate crisis, the wider environmental crisis, the housing crisis, chronic poverty, the health crisis, and the many other local challenges we face today.
With the right leadership, we can solve these crises. We can create a future with a healthy environment, a clean swimmable river, a safer climate. A future where all people are treated with a dignity, respect and dare I say even love that is the hallmark of what humanity can achieve.
Ambitious? Yes. Idealistic? Yes - and proudly so. For it is the ideal that should set our course and stretch us, as we work in ways that are ultimately pragmatic, taking steps big and small in the right direction.
That’s it for now. Tomorrow I’ll be about again on the local streets, wearing out the shoe leather, enjoying conversations with local voters on the doorstep.
In closing, a reminder that I’m standing for re-election because I’m here to serve the community first. Because I believe you deserve a Council committed to solving the big issues, as well as ensuring the big and the little day to day things are done well. And because we all deserve and expect to get good value from Council spending.