Barker se­cures EW seat, looks to river, road safety

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By MATHEW GROCOTT

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.

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