One of my goals in preparation to become a Tauranga City Councillor is to visit 4000 homes before the election in October.
I set this goal to ensure that I learn what’s on people’s minds, what their ideas are for the city, what their concerns and worries are.
Not only is this knowledge of enormous value to me, I adore meeting new people and hearing their stories.
I’m proud to announce that as of last night I have visited 3066 homes.
It’s taken me 70.67 hours to get around this many.
- I’ve walked, scootered and cycled 239.42km.
- For 957 of these visits I have talked to people face-to-face, and for the rest I wedge a flyer in their door or put one in their letterbox.
Everyone is so pleased to have someone take the time to knock on their door and ask them what they think about our wonderful city.
I’ve met people who just moved in to their new home that day, or in the last week, or for a few months, and others that have lived in this home for 20 years, 30 years, and 40 years. And everything in-between.
Every night, within a few moments of meeting people I get invited into peoples homes to sit down and have a chat. I’m offered a cup of tea or a glass of water or a biscuit or a mandarin. In a single evening last week I was invited in 4 times. I always say yes.
Here’s a list of my notes on people and their concerns that I’ve collected over the last few weeks:
- Mary: Her dad loved ships, in the 60’s he’d take the whole family down to the docks when ships were in port and take a sailor home for dinner in exchange for exploring the shop from top to bottom
- Mary: Would like more seating. She suggests they could all be paid for by making them memorial seats to mark the passing of family members
- Jacky: Runs a business in town and is not impressed with how the city centre appears to be dying whilst The Mount and Papamoa are bustling with activity
- Jenny: Has seen 3 other proposals to revitalise the centre in the last 10 – 20 years, has seen them fall short of their ambition to “revitalise the city” and is astounded by the proposed price tag for this one
- Jenny: Would like to see more indoor sporting venues in the pipeline because ASB Arena is getting full
- Maura: Grew up at the Marae across the road in the 40’s and remembers playing basketball there. She has many family members buried in the cemetary at Motuopae island a few metres away in Judea
- Norman: Suggests we are focusing too much on City Centre. He suggests we consider placing the university campus at Windermere instead. He is disappointed that TrustPower’s 500 staff doesn’t seem to have added much economic activity and has only filled the few remaining carparks
- Sam: Has been commuting daily from Whakatane for 18 months until he just moved in with his partner in Bellevue recently
- James: Has heard that China based companies may be taking an interest in delivering major NZ infrastructure projects at much cheaper rates but worries that those funds will get siphoned out of NZ
- Brian: Wants to ensure we retain our green spaces as they come under increasing pressure from the growing population
- Joelle: Just got to Tauranga after spending 5 years working in Dubai. She is currently looking for marketing work
- Anne and Basil: Have 10 sheep and chickens on their property in Bellevue in which they have lived for 40 years. Basil is concerned that the proposed subdivision at Te Tumu (Papamoa East) has been a flood plain for hundreds/thousands of years
- Brian: Proposes we use the tunnel digging machine from Auckland and dig a tunnel for trucks under the Kaimais to get them off the road
- Paul: Is disappointed that no one has taken responsibility for an eye-sore across the road from his house where a retaining wall collapsed 4 years ago. The foot path is still buried and the road narrowed
- Sissy: Concerned that the slow and costly building consent process may cause people to alter their homes without approval and cause headaches down the line
- Dean: Is appalled that the proposed redevelopment of a retirement village next door to him breaks several Resource Management Act rules but is likely to be given the go-ahead
Despite these concerns, everyone tells me how much they love living in Tauranga and wouldn’t live anywhere else.
I have a few more houses to visit in Brookfield and then I’ll be in Bethlehem and Pyes Pa next. So if you live in those areas I might be knocking on your door soon.