May­oral can­di­date here to serve

South Waikato News - - Your Place, Your Paper - FRANCES FER­GU­SON

Years of frus­tra­tion at try­ing to con­vince the South Waikato District Coun­cil of the high-tech gold­mine sit­ting at the district’s fin­ger­tips was the fi­nal tip­ping point for a Toko­roa res­i­dent who has thrown his hat in the ring for the may­oralty.

Bruce Simp­son de­cided ‘‘enough is enough’’ and will run for mayor in his year’s may­oral elec­tion.

The out­spo­ken ad­vo­cate has plenty to say on sev­eral is­sues in­clud­ing spend­ing ratepay­ers’ money wisely.

He said a missed op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate a $40,000 air model park funded from over­seas in­vestors was a costly mis­take.

Un­able to pro­vide rev­enue fig­ures his busi­ness plan was turned down by coun­cil in 2014.

‘‘In a low decile town why would you not ac­cept the of­fer for in­ter­na­tional tourists to visit?

‘‘It’s not cost­ing the ratepayer a cent. At the least we would’ve had forty thou­sand fly­ing to the district and if one per­son comes it hasn’t cost a cent

‘‘The ben­e­fits are our ho­tels are full, our restau­rants are full and peo­ple are shop­ping in the re­tail sec­tor. It needs to pro­vide an over­all ben­e­fit.’’

The of­fers keep com­ing in and Simp­son is de­ter­mined to make Toko­roa a ‘‘go to’’ place rather than a go ‘‘through’’ place.

Simp­son wants to fol­low Ti­rau as a model to de­velop Toko­roa as a town with dis­tinc­tion by turn­ing the air­port into a place for high-tech drone de­vel­op­ment.

Of­fers from over­seas in­vestors with the po­ten­tial to pro­vide more jobs for lo­cals is a vi­sion he has not given up on.

He said the lat­est plan to bring vis­i­tors ‘‘kick­ing and scream­ing’’ off State High­way 1 by build­ing a play­ground in the cold­est town in Waikato was a waste of money.

‘‘En­cour­age busi­nesses to come be­cause they bring peo­ple who are here twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. They’re not tran­sient. They are per­ma­nent.

‘‘The prob­lem is we are too re­liant on di­ary and forestry. We need to di­ver­sify and we need a sen­si­ble eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment strat­egy.’’

Bruce Simp­son be­lieves the South Waikato has missed out on many eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties.

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