I WOULD like to take this opportunity to alleviate the fears of Iain Morrison (Courier, letters to ed, 20 June) regarding the inclusion of political parties in local government elections.
The main reason candidates choose to form groups is so that they can be included "above the line" on the ballot paper if their group consists of least four candidates. This is not restricted to political parties, all candidates are permitted to form groups.
If they choose to remain as individuals their name will only be included in the larger list "below the line". For obvious reasons there is a much greater chance of being elected in being above the line.
The Greens primary vote has a steady nation-wide growth rate of about two per cent each election showing that policies The Greens put forward are being accepted by an increasing proportion of the population. For the forthcoming local election, our local Greens group will be focusing on quite a number of issues, both of a local nature and in the broader context. For example, we urge the current administrator to reconsider his decision on not allowing a poll on fluoride to be included with the election, with obvious cost savings. There is a strong feeling among voters on this issue and we support them.
We believe we should be doing our bit for climate change, especially considering our vulnerability, witness the coastal erosion at Lake Cathie. With rising sea levels and increasing severity and number of storms, climate change is certainly a contributing factor to coastal erosion.
We will be endeavouring to improve the energy efficiency of new homes and buildings in the council area with passive solar and naturally ventilated houses and buildings. These have been shown to cut energy use (and electricity bills) by half.
Other topics of interest in our group include transport alternatives to cars such as more continuous and safe cycle paths; regular and cost-effective public transport; farmers markets and genuine community participation in decision-making. The recent removal of citrus trees by council in Laurieton shows there is room for improvement in relations with the public.
From their experience with the previous council, residents need to regain confidence in local government. We aim to do this by expansion of the suggestion of precincts made by the current General Manager. We suggest that the concept of precinct "duty councillors" be expanded to include financial budgets for each of these precincts. There is a perception in the outlying areas that all their money is spent in Port Macquarie. By having a transparent budget showing income and expenditures for each precinct, some of this mistrust can be reduced.
Of course, all of these issues will require team work and support from other councillors.
Our campaign can be followed at Face book /Hastings Greens 2012.
Greens candidate for council election.