New Eastbourne Community Member, Robert Ashe (left), is congratulated by Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace
Eastbourne Community Board has its first Green member after Robert Ashe was successful in a recent by-election.
Mr Ashe, an advisor to Green members of Parliament, defeated rival Jim Meates by 908 votes to 817, according to results put out by Hutt City returning officer Stuart Duncan. The by-election was called following Geoff Rashbrooke’s resignation at the beginning of the year.
He was sworn on at the board’s meeting last Wednesday (April 11). Mr Ashe says he wants to hit the ground running. “During the campaign I talked about smarter transport options around the bays using innovative road marking and signage. I’d also like to see a later direct bus service from Wellington to Eastbourne, so people who stay later in the city or to go to a movie can get home and still leave their cars at home.”
Mr Ashe says he wants to use Hutt City’s bulk purchasing power to buy rainwater tanks, and then encourage Eastbourne households to utilise clouds as the source of their water. “That takes pressure off the Hutt River. It’s also important in natural disasters to have another source of fresh water.”
Mr Ashe says he is “personally disappointed” at the 39% turnout for the by-election which was conducted by postal vote. “But that’s pretty good for a by-election and similar to the
overall council election in 2010. However, I’d like to see more people participating in the democratic process.”
Mr Ashe believes he is the first Green elected to a local government position in the Hutt Valley.
“I’d like to acknowledge Geoff Rashbrooke for the long contribution he has made to Eastbourne. Jim Meates was a really good opponent. I hope he stands again because he has a lot to offer.”