What a weekend! First, the euphoria and relief that came from the election results, followed by a quite macabre day of ringing one mayoral colleague after another and seeing first›hand the brutality of politics, and the reality of having to say goodbye to friends that had given their best.
To everyone in Clutha — I want to thank you for your support and acknowledge there were counter›views that deserve attention. I came into politics half a lifetime ago, and I want you to know it means the world to me to receive the privilege to follow through on promises made.
This is not a political statement. I honestly believe our district is on the cusp of major transformational change. We will, over coming months, see delivery on the catalyst projects forming the foundation of our ‘‘Living and Working’’ strategy — it is our district’s time to grow and repair.
We have too many fundamental advantages in the glut of jobs coupled with housing affordability, that growth is inevitable. Council has plans in place to maximise our advantages, and set our district up for a vibrant and prosperous future.
That said, it would be naive to think this term will not have its challenges. The speed and unpredictability of changes will ensure that and, from a council perspective, we will once again be tested. The nucleus of councillors remains, and I welcome the new councillors and look forward to their contribution around the table. One thing is for sure: they will have some reading to do, as they’ll quickly find that overseeing $1.2 billion of public assets alongside relentless demands for attention to every detail and issue that not only Clutha, but the nation must consider, can be a demanding task.
I also want to thank the departing councillors, and in fact all councillors, their partners and their families. At times over the past three years, I have seen these good and decent people shredded by a small but vociferous element in society. I have witnessed their families having to endure violence and jibes, and have never been prouder than in recent times, where a strength and commitment shone. Where honour and dedication to the communities they loved prevailed over all else. There is a line in the sand for what elected members should have to put up with and, at times, that line has been despicably crossed, albeit by a small minority.
That said I am so excited for what lies ahead. I look at my council and have never been surer that we are up for the task. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the opportunity I have been given, and I make a new promise to you — I will give everything I have to the next three years. I will not back off, but I also have to be a realist and acknowledge there is a call for change, and rejuvenation — that for the good of the district a clear signal has to be made that this is my last term.
Anyone thinking this is a signal that I will be slowing down, think again. I will be even more of a pain than usual and as always, I will be pushing — onwards, and upwards.