Revved up Mcphee: coun­cils must talk

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By JIM CHIPP

Anger mo­ti­vated Gary Mcphee to stand for the re­gional coun­cil.

The for­mer Carter­ton mayor had at­tempted to bro­ker a com­mer­cial so­lu­tion to ac­ri­mo­nious dis­putes over the Rimu­taka Sum­mit cafe and the coun­cilowned toi­let block, but the coun­cil pre-empted his ef­forts by de­mol­ish­ing the toi­let block.

Then the cafe was de­stroyed in a mys­te­ri­ous fire.

‘‘I tried to stop them [but] they knocked it down at seven o’clock in the morn­ing,’’ he said. ‘‘I don’t think any­one wanted to clean the toi­lets but if the cafe was up there they [the cafe op­er­a­tor] would have looked af­ter the toi­lets.’’

At the time he told longserv­ing Wairarapa re­gional coun­cil­lor and some­time coun­cil chair­man Ian Buchanan that it would cost him his job and, af­ter the 2010 elec­tion, Mr Mcphee was in and Mr Buchanan was out. ‘‘ To be quite hon­est I was quite anti the re­gional coun­cil,’’ Mr Mcphee said.

Af­ter a year-and-a-half on the coun­cil, his at­ti­tude has changed. He said the public does not un­der­stand what the re­gional coun­cil does and nei­ther do lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

‘‘In say­ing that I don’t re­ally think the re­gional coun­cil knows what the ter­ri­to­rial au­thor­i­ties do. I ba­si­cally think there is a whole dis­joint be­tween re­gional and lo­cal gov­ern­ment.’’

Mr Mcphee trained as a fit­ter and turner with The Evening Post, and later worked for the Welling­ton City Coun­cil as a diesel fit­ter be­fore set­ting up his own busi­ness re­pair­ing alu­minium ve­hi­cle wheels.

More re­cently he has turned his life­long in­ter­est in mo­tor­cy­cles – Har­ley- David­sons, Moto Guzzis and BMWS – into a busi­ness, cus­tom- build­ing bikes.

Then Mr Mcphee’s son was se­ri­ously in­jured in a mo­tor­cy­cle ac­ci­dent and had to be helped through three or four years of re­hab. ‘‘I had a lot of time to read news­pa­pers and find out what has hap­pened in the com­mu­nity.’’

That led to in­volve­ment in lo­cal body pol­i­tics, first in Carter­ton and then on the re­gional coun­cil. ‘‘ I’m here putting my best foot for­ward for Wairarapa,’’ he said.

A pos­si­ble Welling­ton re­gion su­per-city isn’t a pop­u­lar con- cept in Wairarapa, but Mr Mcphee sup­ports dis­cus­sion.

‘‘There is a lot of in­for­ma­tion and ser­vice repli­ca­tion. I see lit­tle bits of it all the time.’’

Whether Wairarapa be­comes part of a su­per- city or not, ev­ery­body wants a more ef­fi­cient re­gion, he said.

‘‘In the end, no-one wants their rates to go up, ev­ery­body wants more ser­vices.

‘‘I think the best thing is for ev­ery­body to get talk­ing and sort out their own prob­lems and not leave it to con­sul­tants.

‘‘ The an­swer is prob­a­bly [that] you can ei­ther leg­is­late and change it that way or get peo­ple work­ing to­gether and a bit more in­for­ma­tion shar­ing and work­ing to­gether on ma­jor projects.’’

He has been sur­prised by the re­gional coun­cil’s fo­cus on trans­port – more than 70 per cent of its bud­get.

Be­fore the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Act, re­gional coun­cils had noth­ing to do with trans­port.

‘‘ Cen­tral gov­ern­ment is pretty good at say­ing they don’t want lo­cal gov­ern­ment to spend our money but they are quite good at giv­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ment ex­tra work to do and ex­tra re­spon­si­bil­ity with­out giv­ing them any ex­tra money,’’ he said.

Photo: FAIR­FAX

Size 12s: Re­gional coun­cil­lor Gary Mcphee says he is putting his best mo­tor­bike boot for­ward for Wairarapa.

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