Tasman District Councillor 1995-1998
Tasman District is blessed with a stunning natural environment, including three national parks - Abel Tasman, Kahurangi and Nelson Lakes. However, having this environment has never meant that activities on private and other public land have been managed well.
As an environmentalist, a planner and a critic of decisions that Tasman District Council had been making since the passing of the Resource Management Act in 1991, I decided to put my hat in the ring and try to change the culture and actions of that organisation.
As well as the consequences of unbridled development of the natural resources of the region including the coastal and marine environment, I was concerned about lack of representation: too few women had been elected to this council (or its forebears) and no Maori, or indeed anyone from any other ethnic group. Where are the crèches for children of both younger women and men? "Consultation" and "sustainability" were words to be used, but not understood or implemented.
Did I succeed? No, I did not.
Too often councillors turned up for council meetings without having read agendas (or report content); too often staff advice was ignored, or not debated in a meaningful manner with decisions often made as a consequence of external influences. Too often, the people and their concerns were not heard, or satisfied. Councillors tended to form factions with the outcomes predictable.
I believe strongly that there must be better methods of meaningful representation for residents and ratepayers, and that transparency in decision-making and true accountability for those decisions are essential.
This was published in: Women Decision-Makers Nelson and Tasman 1944 -2018, p. 29. Compiled by Dr Shelley Richardson, Elaine Henry, Gail Collingwood, Hilary Mitchell.
Sources used in this story
- Image: Helen Campbell 12 September 1995. Nelson Provincial Museum, Nelson Mail Collection: C28826.
Want to find out more about the Helen Campbell ? View Further Sources here.
Do you have a story about this subject? Find out how to add one here.