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Allison Roe and Auckland councillor join Rodney First ticket

Media release

Rodney First

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Allison Roe and Auckland councillor join new Rodney First ticket

Legendary marathon champion Allison Roe has joined local businessman Mike Francis and Rodney Local Board member Beth Houlbrooke to stand in the Warkworth subdivision of the Rodney ward under a new political ticket called Rodney First.

At the same time retiring Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer and sitting local board member Phelan Pirrie are standing for Rodney First in the Kumeu subdivision.

Nominations for the upcoming local body elections opened on 15 July and close on 12 August.

It has been 35 years since Allison Roe MBE won both the Boston Marathon and New York City Marathon. Over the last three years she has ‘cut her teeth’ in local government, currently serving a second term as an elected member of the Waitemata District Health Board, and enjoys her involvement as head category judge of New Zealander of the Year/Community. Aside from being a sporting professional in the past, she has created businesses, is a wife, mother and grandmother.

Allison and husband Alan live on a lifestyle block at Pt Wells, Matakana. “We’ve been coming to our hideaway as an escape from the ‘rat race’ for twelve years and it just became harder to leave, so we decided to ‘take the plunge’ and become permanent residents over the last three years,” she says.

Allison has wasted no time in becoming involved in the local community and chairs the Matakana Coast Trails Trust.

“I am particularly passionate about the development of cycleways, walkways and local amenities that will stimulate the economy as well as provide infrastructure, health and recreational benefits. I see us partnering with community, helping to build relationships with decision makers and rattling some cages to get ‘stuff’ done. Rodney has talent, and at a time of such incredible growth we must think and work differently to get results for our growing area,” says Ms Roe.

Mike Francis is a resident of Leigh. He’s had an extensive career in IT including establishing and owning an accounting software business with his wife for 25 years before selling it and traveling overland from Tunisia to Tibet down the Silk Road. He was then a Director of Consulting at KPMG before the couple purchased and moved to a coastal farm in Rodney.

Mr Francis was a founding member of Oooby in Matakana - a local organic food distribution system. He works to promote sustainable community gardens and has helped organise and run a number of community events in Leigh.

“I also help run a popular Facebook page on local transport and infrastructure issues the region faces. I’m standing for Rodney First because I want to use of my all business, consulting and community experience to get some action out of Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and NZTA. Local transport issues including the dreaded Hill Street have been side-lined for too long and it’s time to get the community moving,” says Mr Francis.

For the past three years Beth Houlbrooke has been an active member of the Rodney Local Board, devoting significant time to the community, regularly attending events from Leigh to Puhoi, and chairing the local board’s Parks, Culture & Community Development Committee.

Prior to being elected Ms Houlbrooke was an award winning self-employed business woman in the transport industry. She has farmed in Ahuroa and owned successful local businesses. Over the years she has been a coordinator, chairperson and president of many local groups. She has resided in the Warkworth area for 23 years and has two adult sons.

“Standing for re-election with the support of such a dynamic team makes me very excited about what we can achieve for Rodney ratepayers this coming term. My own personal goal will be to continue championing the pool project in Warkworth by exploring public-private partnership opportunities,” says Ms Houlbrooke.

For the Rodney ward’s Kumeu subdivision, Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer and Rodney Local Board member Phelan Pirrie have also banded together under Rodney First.

Mr Brewer has been the Auckland Councillor for Orakei for six years, and prior to that was the CEO of the Newmarket Business Association. He is well known for his fights against rates rises, soaring staff numbers, costs and debt, and poor council spending. He also runs his own public relations consultancy, Cameron Brewer Communications Ltd.

Last year he and his wife Kate moved their young family to Riverhead.

“We love it here. Kate and I grew up in provincial areas so it was an easy shift. However, I’m not so impressed by the lack of infrastructure, investment and planning by Auckland Council given the relentless growth. So while I’m stepping down as a councillor, I’m now keen to make a community contribution as a local board member and help get a bit of action around here,” says Mr Brewer.

Phelan Pirrie lives in Muriwai with his wife Allison. He is director and shareholder of Best Berries based in Huapai - a major NZ strawberry supplier. He is a trustee on the Muriwai Environmental Action Community Trust and an Officer in Charge of Muriwai Fire Brigade

For the past three years he’s been an active member of the Rodney Local Bard, devoting significant time to the community and chairing the Rodney Local Board’s Transport, Planning and Infrastructure Committee. Among his achievements, Mr Pirrie has helped deliver a Centre Plan for Kumeu-Huapai plus many new footpaths for the area.

“I’ve enjoyed the last three years but with a highly experienced and focused team working together, we could do so much more for our area. We have some very clear goals. It’s all about being accountable to local ratepayers, going back to the basics, getting stuff done for our community, and of course putting Rodney first,” says Mr Pirrie.

Rodney First will be releasing detailed policy over the coming weeks.

In the meantime, Allison Roe, Mike Francis, Beth Houlbrooke, Cameron Brewer and Phelan Pirrie and say their areas of focus will include: local roads, footpaths and public transport, better management of population growth and environmental pressures; and ensuring closer partnerships with the local community and organisations.

More information on Rodney First and its candidates can be found onwww.rodneyfirst.org


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