Former councillor readies election bid
A former Franklin Council District councillor is looking to step back into the local political arena.
Henk Habraken, who spent more than 12 years on the Franklin District Council, will stand for the Waiuku subdivision in the Franklin Local Board elections. The former Counties Manukau rugby president and pig farmer has moved back into Waiuku, after running a dairy farm in Waeranga near Te Kauwhata.
Habraken said he was first inspired to become involved in local body politics because of the limitations he found in the Resource Management Act (RMA).
‘‘I thought at the time, the RMA would do a lot of damage and I think in some ways it has - it’s certainly made life harder for farming.’’
During his time at the Franklin District Council, Habraken represented the Patumahoe Ward, and witnessed the country and town boroughs of Franklin come together.
‘‘I think one of the biggest challenges was the amalgamations of the different boroughs,’’ he said.
One example of the teething issues faced he said, was when plans to build the Pukekohe recreation centre were being put in place.
The total cost of the project Habraken said was around $2.2 million, but there was a $1 million shortfall in funding.
‘‘Country was still arguing with town about how they were going to divvy things up or how things were going to be done.’’ Habraken said he suggested any council assets not being used or needed be sold to the raise $1 million shortfall.
‘‘Those are the sort of things we came across and that was just one of a number of different issues that needed another way of looking at it.’’
Despite a long first run in politics, he said he knew it was time to step down and let others come in with new ideas.
However, with more times on his hands these days, Habraken said he’s ready to re-enter the world of local body politics.
‘‘Now with this Unitary Plan that is being put out it looks like they are certainly pushing out towards us, and Auckland is gonna become a different animal.
‘‘I would certainly like to see that we’re getting a fair deal - if you do get in you’ve go to think for Franklin - are we getting a fair deal from Auckland?’’