Soapbox 1: Aksel Bech Mayoral candidate

In the interests of offering extra information to residents we will begin Soapbox posts – in the order they are received Matangilink will publish articles submitted to us from candidates for election to Waikato District Council.

2022 elections Council elections -change guaranteed!

By Aksel Bech -standing for Mayor.

One thing is certain, change is coming!  The upcoming elections for local Ward Councillors and the Mayor for Waikato District Council will see a local choice of candidates for Councillor, some re-standing, some retiring and some new candidates in several of the reshaped Wards and a new Mayor with the retirement of Allan Sanson after 21 years in Council, the past 12 as Mayor.

I start by acknowledging Cr Rob McGuire who is retiring from the Eureka Ward  -I have greatly enjoyed working with him -and he was always a vocal supporter of the Ward whilst keeping focussed on the good of the District and we have worked well as “neighbours”.

So I thought I would further introduce myself -and look forward to meeting more of you personally if I haven’t already at the upcoming candidate evening being planned- Tuesday Sept 20th at 7:30pm at Tamahere Community Centre.

I was born in Denmark and emigrated with my family as a 14-yr old.  With my wife of 28 years, Susan, we have three teenage children and we have made our life in Tamahere.  Before entering Council in 2016, I was doing a range of school trustee (at Tamahere Model Country School and St. Peter’s) and volunteer roles including being the Chairperson of Waikato Lacrosse.  This was possible as I had sold my shares as one of the owners of NDA Engineering Ltd –a large stainless steel fabricator and site services company headquartered in Te Rapa- where I had worked for 10 years as an owner/manager, having been part of a Management Buy-Out there.

I’ve continued my involvement with the dairy industry as Chairperson of the 400-cow “Owl Farm” Demonstration joint venture between St. Peter’s & Lincoln University at Cambridge until last month, and from that comes a very real down to earth understanding of just what our farmers across the Waikato district face.

It has been my privilege to serve as your Deputy Mayor for the past three years -and I feel it has been unrivalled training to step up to the role of Mayor.  My personal passion is seeking to make a difference with my progressive leadership experience and team building, in quite a complex and challenging time; trying to capture and make real the community’s own vision or aspiration for its future. 

What will this mean for the District?  We will focus on ensuring smaller rural settlements remaining viable and our fast growing towns like Te Kauwhata and Pokeno hanging on to the character that makes it special and attracted a swell of new people in the first place, whilst our areas here in the south like Matangi and Tamahere also have experienced a significant number of new-builds locally.

We will continue to devolve responsibility to communities and move toward more local governance as opposed to local government.  For all councils, the government’s “Future of local government” reform will be significant.  We will continue to keep lobbying to ensure central government  resists its natural inclination to grab centralised controls which are best left with communities themselves. 

We are simultaneously seeing this play out with 3Waters reform, RMA reform and of course likewise in Health with the amalgamation of DHB’s along with the Polytechnic sector -all with major cracks on the underpinning frameworks now starting to appear.

More information is provided on my website at  www.akselbech.nz and I hope this has given you a little extra insight.  Most important all, of course, is that you vote!  This is your one chance to say who represents you, so I urge you to take an interest.

For Council to be effective, we need to hear the voices of community in the Chamber -and that starts with casting your postal vote when the papers arrive in the next day or two.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Aksel Bech

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