Denis Tegg is looking forward to standing again for Waikato Regional Council
He is keen to push on with building on the momentum and planning that has been achieved with public transport and get some concrete services and public transport linkages established for the people of the Coromndel Peninsula and surrounding areas. “There is a need for public transport, not just commercial services. Planning is more advanced for new public transport services in Thames Coromandel than any other Waikato rural districts, due to my advocacy. “say Denis. In addition, he will be very pleased to achieve subsidised transport services for disabled persons in Thames – Coromandel area.
This is something that he began work on while still a lawyer and working as a volunteer for that community on meeting the need for better public transport in Thames. Dennis arrived in Thames in 1974 after completing his BA and Law Degree at Otago University. He practised law until 2019. Throughout his working life he was involved in community projects achieving with his community, the drafting of a private members bill, “All of the conservation land north of Thames be protected from mining, under the mining act.” This was brought into law, an achievement of which he is very proud.
In terms of Economc development projects, Denis cited the $200,000 grant towards the purchase of the new Chums Beach Headland and the regional development grant of $2million for the work on Sugarloaf Wharf, Coromandel, both of which his efforts helped bring about. Denis recognises that the climate change issue has to be faced full on. His commitment on WRC in this area will be 45% reduction in WRC’s emissions resulting in lower operating costs for ratepayers. Referring back to public transport, is the challenge to make Waikato public transport emissions ‘negative’ by 2027. Then there’s ending WRC investment in fossil fuels, installing solar power on council buildings (once again, savings for the tax payers after the initial output), keeping WRC climate-focussed with a climate action committee and a decision making framework.
The other key platform where Denis will be working to bring improvement and change is in Water Quality. “We have to develop a fresh water plan,” says Denis and find out from the community what level of protection they want. There are rising concerns at the level of nitrates in the water, not a huge problem in the Coromandel, but the issue has the potential to develop whereby rivers are not swimmable; we need dairying but intensive dairying is contributing to this situation.”
With all that he commits to achieving in serving the tax payer, Denis is also well aware of how difficult it is to get consensus to move a decision forward to finally see action and results. This is a strength he believes he brings to the table. “Around the table of the WRC, are 14 very capable people, often all with different views and backgrounds. Bringing everyone around to a common understanding of what can be achieved and to enable movement and decision making on that understanding is crucial, but the most difficult task for anyone in politics and public service.” Denis refered to a past experience in the early days of his time on WRC where he was able to put through a low-interest loan for households needing essentials such as water tanks and heat pumps, solar panels. The loan was repayable by way of a targeted rate scheme proposal. “This was at no cost to general ratepayers and is now WRC’s flagship policy. Listening to others and taking on board their concerns and patiently re-working aq proposal without sacrificing its intent, is not easy but when it works then we who represent our communities actually experience serving their needs “says Denis.
Warren Maher, new challenger for Waikato regional council seat.
Interview with Pam Ferla
Warren Maher says he is passionate about building strong community relationships and improved facilities for future generations.
He has lived in Tairua for 28 years and runs an electrical contracting business operating throughout the Peninsula. He is currently in his ninth year as president of Tairua-Pauanui Sports Fishing Club and is vice president on the board of the NZ Sports Fishing Council. He also chairs their Youth Fishing Committee.
Warren believes that with his governance experience and knowledge, gained from 30 years of fishing and diving on both sides of the Peninsula, he has a lot of local knowledge and common sense to offer the ongoing Waikato Regional Council Coastal Plan process.
“This includes their policies around harbour use and access, navigation and safety, river and flood management, and aquaculture.”
He believes that continued access is critical to the coastal and marine environment for those who derive social, cultural and personal well-being from being able to gather seafood from the intertidal zone, fishing from the shore, in local waters or around the many islands. He says continued access is also critical for future generations.
“As one of the founders of the Hikuai Hoghunters Club and a keen hunter, I love being in the bush. Pest controls – both animal and plant – are important to me for our ongoing enjoyment of our backyard. Our club competition has provided well needed funds to a local school as well as the local fire brigade and St Johns.”
He believes community-based solutions have more potential for success, due to local support and monitoring.
“I believe community input is critical. Councils and communities must have strong working relationships, with a good level of trust and a great deal of communication. I feel this is something which can be improved on. We have a large number of small towns and spread out communities in our region, as well as a high number of bach owners in our district. I will be a councillor you can engage with and feel that your opinion is valued and heard.”
Warren says that with the upcoming elections on October 8, relationships will need to be forged between the regional and district councils in order to put in place policy that will create economic growth and jobs, and to provide services that make Thames Coromandel a better place to live, while also preparing the district for the future.
Pictured: Denis Tegg, standing again for Waikato Regional Council.