From Levin, Veronica Harrod reports that Councillor Piri-Hira Tukapua is 90 percent sure she won’t be standing as a candidate in the 2019 local body elections for a seat on Horowhenua District Council.
At the last Council meeting she said, “I’ve been here for five years and about to enter her sixth and final year.”
In an interview afterwards, Cr Tukapua added, “I know what it takes to prepare for another campaign and I’m not doing that like I have in the past.”
“I haven’t done everything but I have contributed to some things moving into the future. Maybe it’s a good time for me to go and look at something else.”
The Tokomaru health risk
She said her primary motivation for standing in 2013 was the unacceptable level of health risk to Tokamaru residents from their water supply, which meant residents were advised to boil water before use for five years between 2009 and 2014.
“A decision to do something about Tokomaru water supply was made at the Finance, Audit and Risk sub-committee. I had to fight to be on that sub-committee. I had to prove myself or else I would be out. I worked hard.”
“I sensed that a few members of the FAR committee were in disbelief about the new proposal of $350,000 and were more comfortable sticking to a previous decision that would see Tokomaru wait 12 years.”
“At that meeting there were a number of items up for approval, I asked one question of Gallo Saidy. Of all these items you are asking for, if you could only have one what would it be?”
She said Mr Saidy, the Council’s former Infrastructure Services Group Manager, “said Tokomaru water. It totally changed the minds of doubters and all members voted in favour of the Tokomaru water issue.
In 2014 the Council approved spending $350,000 for the upgrade, significantly less than the previously estimated options ranging from $1.9 million to $3 million.
“When I look back on that, those are things I stood for and can put a tick, yeah, that’s done.”
Managing tormwater into Lake Horowhenua
She said she can also put a tick beside the role she played advocating for more funding to manage stormwater run-off from the Queen Street drain into Lake Horowhenua.
Councillors voted in favour of a feasibility study and setting aside $5.5 million funding after Cr Tukapua gave an impassioned plea to manage storm water which is responsible for the majority of pollution to Lake Horowhenua.
In July 2015 the Tokomaru Water Treatment Plant Upgrade was named Infrastructure Project of the Year at the Local Government New Zealand Excellence Awards.