My first top 10 list

New Invercargill City councillor Rebecca Amundsen.
New Invercargill City councillor Rebecca Amundsen.

For the next 100 days will follow newly elected Invercargill City Councillor Rebecca Amundsen.

She's not an unfamiliar face to people  who live in Glengarry, or those who voted for her.

She's a mother, a landlord, a project leader and now a city councillor.

But this isn't just our project, it's yours too.

Get involved by posting comments, asking questions and answering polls each week as we follow Rebecca's first days in office.

Each week Rebecca will also write about her council musings.

After two half days of local government training, a bit of weekend reading and a few interesting events and happenings I have started to learn a few things about being a city councillor.

Here are the top 10 things - some chosen because they are important and others because they are interesting, hopefully.

  1. Effective governance depends on quality relationships.
  2. The Long Term Plan is the council's contract with the community.
  3. City councillors get invited to lots of events - this week it was my pleasure to attend the opening of the Nature Centre at the Community Nursery in Otatara - what a fantastic facility we now have thanks to people with passion who are making things happen.
  4. Elected members cannot direct the council staff.
  5. You can have 15 years experience and that 15 years can be the same year repeated 15 times or every year you can learn something new.
  6. As councillors we should ask what is working? What isn't working? And what can we do better for our community?7 
  7. Maroon and red are colours that deteriorate the quickest in New Zealand's climate - according to the Inner City Upgrade concept plan. We have a maroon car and I can vouch for that.
  8. When making decisions we should also ask what will happen if we don't do this? And consider more than just the economic ramifications.
  9. Sometimes you get asked to help with difficult situations and there is nothing you can do to help.
  10. A whole lot of things I am learning now will change in April 2014 when there will be a significant amendment to the Local Government Act.

My husband is also learning a thing or two.

Mostly that people like to ask what is it like being married to a councillor.

So far his answer is that there has been no change.

I suspect that may change as things progress, especially when I have been for the Resource Management Act training I have to do for the hearings committee.

He sometimes has to deal with resource consents as part of his work, so I am sure that will lead to some interesting discussions.

In the course of reading the annual plan for the 2013/14 year I have also learned a few things about what our council does and aims to do.

  1. ICC owns 215 housing units in Invercargill and Bluff and they are self-funding
  2. 90 per cent of Invercargill homes should be within 400m of a bus stop
  3. On an average day there are 1550 visits to the library and 250 visits to their website
  4. In this financial year the council will spend $1,265,000 on footpath renewals and rehabilitation
  5. ICC owns 161 parks totalling 3016 hectares in Invercargill and Bluff
* To email Rebecca a question click here 

The Southland Times