For­mer coun­cil­lor read­ies elec­tion bid

Franklin County News - - OUT & ABOUT - JOHN BOYN­TON

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?’’

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