Graeme O'Brien

Putting ratepayers needs first

OBRIEN Graeme CouncillorMy principal place of residence is in the Nelson City Council - At Large area.

With seven years' experience advocating on issues like live streaming Council meetings, residents' rights to heat their homes with carbon neutral wood burners and supporting residents who have issues with Council, I have a firm understanding of how Council can be improved. I am a good listener and would welcome your support to be your voice.

As a working man, unnecessary Council spending and rates raises causes me great concern. With a forecast net debt of $178 million by 2024/25, how can we (especially those on fixed incomes) afford it?

This city has many issues to address however ratepayers are not an eftpos machine for ill-conceived ideas or fanciful nice-to- haves.

I believe transparency of information and a process that is unbiased will get good decisions and if not, accountability to the ratepayer for those decisions.

Vote Graeme O'Brien, transparent, fair and common-sense approach to managing our city.

What makes Nelson so special for you?

After traveling to many places around the world while living in Japan. I have never been to a country that beats what NZ has to offer and Nelson I feel encompasses the best of NZ.  Nelson people speak out, volunteer, donate, help, and engage in every aspect of our society and because of this caring nature a vibrancy that shows through in everything Nelson people do.  I personally owe a lot to the Nelson community. My family and I had to leave a successful life in Japan due to the Nuclear meltdown and return to Nelson where I met my wife 15 years earlier. We were welcomed and encouraged by many people throughout the community in starting our new life from scratch.  The caring environment that I feel is so special led me to look at how I could also do something that benefited people and the community as a whole while still being able to pay my bills.  I gained employment with the NMDHB as a Support Worker for high needs people in our community, although this kind of work is not recognized as well as it should be it has been one of the most rewarding and humbling experiences of my 50 years on this earth.

What is your vision for the city?

First we should ask ourselves what is a "Vision"? Cambridge dictionary says  “the ability to imagine how a country, society, industry, etc. could develop in the future and to plan for this: Yet a Councillor is voted to “Bring the views of the community into council decision making processes” and “Listen to the concerns of local residents and ratepayers on issues pertaining to the council” Rather than force my “Vision” of the future on residents my goals are the same as I have campaigned on for the last 6 years. What is decide is in keeping with good governance and is what residents want, not that which is forced on them by others designs.

  • The vision I have is for a strong local democracy where the residents are listened to and the following concerns are addressed.
  • Transparency of information & debates that are being kept secret from the public
  • Fair Process to stop the manipulation of the rules that undermines our participatory democracy
  • Accountability to ratepayers for ballooning debt, 45 million added in the last 10 years, $109 million 2019, $177 million by 2024 and the rates increases needed to pay for it.
  • Consultation vs Insultation, Residents’ concerns must be addressed & not just ignored by those who think they know better.