There have been some great results in our local body elections. I am happy that Sheryl Mai has been re-elected in Whangarei. She is a supporter of Local Food Northland, hosting our first formal meeting in her office and is a strong supporter of the Whangarei Growers Market. Tricia Cutforth has been re-elected. She campaigned tirelessly and successfully for the Council to make Whangarei District the first Fair Trade District in New Zealand. It is also good to see Greg Innes re-elected to the WDC – another strong supporter of local food.
Sheryl Mai fielding congratulations on her re-election (image from The Northern Advocate).
There is a new Mayor in Kaipara and John Carter has been re-elected in the far North. I would welcome thoughts from residents in these districts about the outcome of their elections. Future posts will explore the election outcomes for the District Health Boards and the Regional Council.
Local body politicians are more likely than national politicians to drive change towards more sustainable food systems. They tend to be more pragmatic and less ideologically bound and will respond to local concerns. The 2015 World Cities Summit Mayors Forum in New York ended with a strong declaration on sustainability.
The Meeting of the Minds Website outlines how mayors in the U.S. are creating sustainable connected cities.
“Cities are the places where we live and interact. We expect our city leaders to keep them healthy, safe and vibrant. Mayors fill the potholes, provide needed services to people and grow the economy. Even more, the nation’s mayors are leading the charge to develop sustainable, livable, smart cities”. from Meeting of the Minds.
Back in New Zealand, Gareth Morgan accuses Mayoral candidates of being “asleep at the wheel” on the junk food problem. Their are encouraging exceptions. Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese has been re-elected. Her she is talking about sugary drinks.
It is said that we get the government we deserve. More local body elections, and eventually national politicians will support the move to more food systems as more of us raise our own expectations and champion the issue.