• Local historian Michael Fowler stands for Hastings District Council

Local historian Michael Fowler stands for Hastings District Council

Local historian Michael Fowler says a changing local government environment, and his expertise as a chartered accountant are the reasons why he has decided to stand for Hastings District Council. 

Fowler, who was born and bred in Hawke's Bay, is standing for the Hastings-Havelock North General Ward. Nominations for the 2022 Triennial Elections close throughout the country at midday on August 12.

He says the council has done a good job so far but its role is changing. 

"The main reason I am standing is that I think the local government environment is going to change a lot. Obviously, the Three Waters Reforms look like it's going to occur and also there's possibly going to be more issues like social housing that the central government will expect local government to do," he told Hawke's Bay App. 

"I'm really, really passionate about the Hastings District, and I think in the new environment my skills as a chartered accountant and with a Master's degree in accounting could be well-utilised." 

Fowler says he hopes people will vote for him not just because of name recognition, but for what he can bring to the role. 

"People obviously know me, you can't hide from that, but I would like to think they would vote for me not because of that reason, but because of my accounting ability and I have a good, obviously, knowledge of the history of the Hastings District, as well." 

"I'd like to think that I would be involved in perhaps some of the entities that council owns like Splash Planet and even the new Tomoana Showgrounds, just in terms of making sure that they don't end up costing ratepayers money unnecessarily. But that's up to if I get on and elected. 

"And also too, there are lessons that possibly could be learned from the past that may pop up from time to time, but history is not my main attribute that I think I'm bringing; it's more my business and my accounting skills, and a passion and love for the district as well."

He believes it is important Hastings has representation with the Three Waters Reforms facing councils.

"The way it's structured, not every territorial authority is going to be able to have a position. So we've got to make sure that Hastings if it occurs, has a voice in terms of priority for our three waters program as outlined in the district plan." 

He favours decentralisation but agrees some type of reform is needed. 

"Those of us that lived through the Havelock North water contamination in 2016 will be aware of that. But it is a matter of then looking at the government structure that's imposed and making sure that we have a voice in working with central government to achieve that."