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Mangawhai Matters: Local ward election candidates summarise their vision for the future



5 Sept, 2022


Mangawhai Matters Society Inc has asked each of the seven candidates standing for Kaipara District Council (KDC) from our area to outline in 300 words or less their vision for Mangawhai and Kaiwaka should they be elected to one of the three KDC seats for the Mangawhai-Kaiwaka Ward.

The seven candidates are: Dennis Emsley, Mike Ferguson, Mike Howard, Jonathan Larsen, Misty Sansom, Martina Tschirky and Rachael Williams.

We asked each candidate to focus on four issues – any concerns about growth, on issues of transparency by KDC, how we can avoid another EcoCare disaster and whether KDC should change the Development Contribution Payments per residential lot.

Below we print the submitted responses to Vision Statements from all candidates in the order they were received.


thumbnail Jonathan LarsenJONATHAN LARSEN
As an incumbent councillor in the Kaiwaka-Mangawhai Ward, the past three years have produced some great results for the local area. These include external funding of the much needed Mangawhai Shared Path, and Kaiwaka footbridges, Browns Road Mountain Bike Park concept being approved and works commenced, new pump track and basketball facilities in MAZ, revitalisation and extension of McClean Park, and potential sports fields purchase at Mangawhai. These projects are well on the way to providing for the increasing future population of the area. I am excited to oversee the completion and integration of these and other local projects over the next term of Council.

Growth: Needs to be managed so that the amenity of the urban area is maintained. Having sufficient residential zoned land available will help to prevent the future ad hoc infill subdivision of surrounding rural lifestyle blocks and the need to retrofit infrastructure. Council needs to listen carefully to the community in the upcoming proposed district plan process and embed the community’s aspirations in the resultant plan.

Transparency: I will continue to insist wherever possible that Council meetings are held in public, and ensure that ratepayers are informed of important matters that arise at

Council. I will continue to raise awareness of issues and initiatives through The WorkBoot Councillor Facebook page and local newspaper columns.

Mangawhai wastewater: The most important action to be taken with Mangawhai wastewater is to ensure that extension to the scheme is properly planned and funded through Council’s Long Term Plan. Council needs to ensure that future growth does not outpace Council’s ability to provide for robust fit-for-purpose infrastructure.

Development contributions: Development contributions for both roading and wastewater connections should be regularly reviewed and if necessary increased to ensure that future growth is adequately funded by development.


thumbnail Dennis EmsleyDENNIS EMSLEY
Growth is inevitable but needs to be managed wisely and transparently within the confines of budgets, resources and with a majority buy-in from the community.

There needs to be 100 percent transparency between Council and the community on all Council decision-making processes that will affect this community. This needs to be achieved by notification and consultation on all significant issues and changes that will have a direct impact on them, via local social media, KDC website, news media notifications and a newsletter with all rate demands.

Ensure accurate costings and efficient timing for all new and ongoing maintenance of existing infrastructure to ensure no budget blowouts for current and future expansion. All projects need to be fully researched, costed, approved, and implemented within set timeframes to avoid costly time delays.

I do not believe the contribution should be increased. It impacts on building costs for a ratepayer who will also be paying ongoing contributions by way of rates. Council increasing such costs to cover inefficiencies is not acceptable.

Vision Statement: To retain Mangawhai’s unique holiday destination environment, culture and atmosphere with a residential base which allows for growth without affecting these characteristics detrimentally and ensuring a sustainable local economy. Mangawhai does matter.


thumbnail Martina Tschirky-448MARTINA TSCHIRKY
I am deeply concerned about another “enabling” District Plan and the fact that some 47 percent of all resource consents in 2021/22 have not been compliant with the current plan. What is the point of a plan if it’s so vague that anything goes? I think it is high time to be firm and say no to inappropriate development in low lying, flood prone areas or on fertile soil such as the volcanic area in the upper Tara where food production should be enabled. If elected I will strongly advocate for controlled, sustainable development near current infrastructure, not pepper pot developments such as have been happening. New subdivisions should enhance Mangawhai not destroy it. I would also like to see old native trees protected where possible.

Transparency in decision making is key, and regular communication with community groups such as MMS is crucial. I think KDC has made good progress in keeping

interested people informed through their email list. Overcoming people’s apathy will be an ongoing issue though. Open days are good and the council’s website still needs to be made more user friendly.

Having been involved from the beginning with the ill-fated EcoCare I will help promote an affordable and effective solution to Mangawhai’s waste water. The existing infrastructure needs to be fit for purpose now and in future, and maybe the time has come to look for a new solution that’s cost effective and well planned.

The development contributions from larger developments are probably too low and there needs to be more of a user pays approach. Having recently gone through the consenting process to create two extra titles on a lifestyle block ourselves, we will have to pay five percent of the value of each new block which is probably fair.


thumbnail Misty SansomMISTY SANSOM
Mangawhai is a town that punches above its weight in terms of the growth it is bringing to the wider district. It is so important that we stay focused on the things that matter – ensuring that the growth is warranted, sustainable and within environmental and infrastructural limits.

As a community, we need to have a strong understanding of the challenges and issues we are facing – from growth pressures, to underfunded infrastructure, to a changing climate. We need a relationship of clarity, transparency, and open communication from the Council to fully understand our options and move forward in the best way possible.

Together, we need to consider what we want Mangawhai and the surrounding area to look like in 10, 20, 50 years and beyond. We have to ask ourselves whether the current projected long-term growth is sustainable for our community and aligned with our values. Growth should not come at the expense of our environment, or put unsustainable pressure on infrastructure, or place undue burden on ratepayers.

The pressure of growth on wastewater infrastructure is one of the big challenges we will face in the coming term, and it is important that we learn from past mistakes. As a councillor, I would seek to address the shortfall between current debt, future developer contributions and the maintenance and upgrades needed for the Mangawhai Wastewater Scheme over the next two decades. Following this, we may need to revisit the rate at which developer contributions are charged so as not to have existing ratepayers bearing the cost of a deficit.

Mangawhai has a strong culture of community leadership and care for our region and environment, and my goal is to represent those values within the Kaipara District Council. I would be honoured to receive your vote in the coming election.


thumbnail Mike HowardMIKE HOWARD
I am standing because I am a “doer”. I don’t sit back and moan, I prefer to contribute directly as best I can. I do not profess to know all answers but will learn as I listen.

A realist, committed to working with all sectors of the community to ensure collective and long-term outcomes for optimal community benefit. Definitely believe one person, one vote.

Growth: Not sure there is a “growth at all costs” mentality. We do need to manage the growth/embrace what’s best for community. Could include sector options, where does social housing fit? Would definitely embrace community driven leadership to secure a high school. There is a built-in tourism magnet on our doorstep opening late 2023. Te Arai Links will be the catalyst for Mangawhai area becoming the new golfing destination of NZ. How do we best embrace that opportunity?

KDC: Open communication and collective collaboration have been my strengths. I don’t intend to stop now.

Wastewater: Clear vision, focus and connect with real experts in the field.

Development contributions: Yes to increases but there will be a ceiling above which we turn off development. Dissenters might prefer option of dropping DCs and adding all development costs to rates? Not me.


thumbnail Rachel WilliamsRACHAEL WILLIAMS
I’m standing for Kaipara District Council because I’m passionate about our local towns. I’ve lived here for 18 years and have been deeply involved in our community as our children grew up here. A highlight has been volunteering on the Kindergarten, MBS School and Mangawhai Netball Club committees. Our communities ‘can do attitude’ and voluntary spirit is very special.

To prepare for this councillor role, I have over many years made the time to attend a lot of KDC briefings and meetings. It’s important to me to know what’s going on and to understand council procedure. I already read the agendas, share with the community how they can ‘have their say’, I participate in submissions/hearings and workshops. As a committee member of Mangawhai Matters for two years, PC78/Mangawhai Central was a huge learning curve.

‘Growth at any cost’ can’t continue. With our wastewater nearing capacity KDC must be honest with its communities about assessment of infrastructure upgrades and resource constraints/spending. Our rapid growth is already putting pressure on our existing services and amenities. Water supply/wastewater are two main factors that will affect our growth rate. KDCs Water Services Review 2021/22 warns that Northland is looking to get drier overall and experts advise droughts will increase. Identified risks: Properties had inadequate onsite storage to reliably provide water during drought; Tanker delivered water may not meet the demand of growing communities and longer wait times will become the norm; Mangawhai and Kaiwaka have no water security or supplementary water supply available.

I am worried we are already behind in planning for wastewater infrastructure and capacity in the face of development pressures. Open, honest dialogue about wastewater issues is the only way forward now. Development must pay its way.

The principles of honesty, affordability, consultation with communities and realistic growth management are very important to me.


thumbnail Mike FergusonMIKE FERGUSON
Growth: There would be very few in our rohe that don’t have a concern about growth. Growth now needs to be checked and realigned. The district plan (LTP) needs a full review that reflects the community’s unique character, its biodiversity and this district plan needs to be held sacrosanct.

Transparency: As a councillor I will have monthly zoom calls after the council minutes are released outlining the main points. I will follow this up with bi-monthly face to face meetings, active social media and focus the council on putting up a community notice board that contains all the important announcements and dates. I will ask my other two local councillors and the mayor to join in a quarterly combined Sunday afternoon drop-in meeting open to all.

Wastewater: So, in doing a large investigation and reviewing expert opinion available, I have concluded that the current scheme has now exceeded capacity and is underperforming in terms of what it’s meant to provide. The current quick fix with the holding tank was a poorly advised, costly stop gap. The most important thing to prevent, more of the same is to acknowledge this and then plan a clear transparent strategy out of it. To see my full strategy and a common sense blueprint for the future go to my Facebook page @ferg4council.

Development contributions: One of the most poorly handled parts of the EcoCare fiasco was this, and reinforces the council’s lack of business acumen. My view is those with committed development contributions, i.e. are already connected, I would not see a change. New consents yet to be connected would reflect a true existing costs of connection model and future connections would be based on a true cost inflation adjusted model.

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