Barker secures EW seat, looks to river, road safety
Saturday’s election result was an eye-opener for Norm Barker.
While Mr Barker was reelected to the South WaikatoRotorua seat of Environment Waikato, it was by a slender margin.
Preliminary results gave Mr Barker 3090 votes and his opponent Neil Stewart 2794.
Interestingly Mr Stewart, who ran on the Rates Control ticket, spent the entire election campaign in Canada.
Mr Barker, a Rates Control member at the last election, said the campaign and result had taught him several things.
‘‘It was much closer than any election I’ve ever had,’’ he said. ‘‘It shows the power of the Rates Control ticket.’’
Mr Stewart was one of six Rates Control members elected to the 12-strong council.
Mr Barker said EW had worked well in the last term with half the council being rates control and he expected the same this time around.
The two big issues Mr Barker saw coming up for council were the Regional Policy Statement and the Waikato River comanagement agreement with iwi.
The policy statement was to go out for public consultation in November; the high-powered document would sit above the district plans for Waikato’s local councils.
Mr Barker said road safety and transport would continue to be a big focus for him this year.
He hoped to again chair EW’s road transport committee and would be keeping pressure on New Zealand Transport Agency to begin construction on a new intersection south of Tirau in 2011.
Mr Barker would also lobby for a rail siding in Tokoroa near Browning St for nearby businesses.
The election results had shown Mr Barker the strength of feeling around the Waikato over the use of 1080 poison for pest control. Mr Barker said he wanted to investigate alternatives.
He also wanted to improve EW’s relationship with and communication with farmers, particularly when it came to the council’s regulatory role in issues such as effluent control.
BACK, JUST: Environment Waikato councillor Norm Barker on the campaign trail.