It may still be 14 months out from the local body elections but we have a race on already for the mayoralty of Thames Coromandel District Council with newcomer John Freer today announcing his intention to run for Mayor. He joins Whitianga local and previous contender, Len Salt in seeking the councils top job.
Other names have been mentioned but are yet to formally declare their intentions.
John Freer and his wife Deb are residents of Onemana, near Whangamata, where they have been residents since 2017. Deb is a nurse working with Te Korowai Hauora O Hauraki and John manages the Goldfields Shopping Mall in Thames.
The couple are very involved in a wide range of community activities, John is a committee member of the Onemana Residents and Community Association, he’s also a member of The Thames Business Association and they are both members of the Whangamata Community patrol.
John a former Thames Journalist and Editor, former Thames Valley representative Rugby player, now Manager of the Thames-based Goldfields Shopping Centre. Prior to this he was manager of the Whangamata Golf Club and before this held management roles for other sporting bodies.
He launched his campaign early as he is keen to start meeting and listening to community feedback as well as what is concerning people around the Peninsula. He would rather do this now rather than waiting till closer to the election.
He sees several challenges ahead for the Council, and specifically refers to the Three Waters proposal, The Local Government Act and Resource Management Act reforms as well as the financial minefield of the recently released Long Term Plan and future costs that will flow to ratepayers.
“If elected next year, I want to be ready to contribute from day one and therefore will use the time between now and the election to listen and understand issues people are seeing in the community.”
“It’s vital that core infrastructure meets our community requirements being – water, roads, rubbish, power and communications. While most of these are covered in the current long-term plan, work is still required to ensure those community requirements are met for todays and future generations, in the most effective and economical way possible.”
He believes in a team approach involving all parts of local government including Council staff, Councilors, Community Boards, Ratepayer and Community representatives, Iwi, Business, Economic and Tourism advocates, those involved with the Sport and Recreation, Heritage, Education, Environment and Health.
John says he’s keen to interact now with community groups so if you are part of a community organisation, a group, a team, a club etc, he would be keen to hear from you on phone 0274 839 426 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rex Simpson interviewed John Freer today on ‘Our Coromandel’. The interview can be found here.