• Video: Retiring Hastings District Councillor says it has been an absolute privilege and honour to serve

Video: Retiring Hastings District Councillor says it has been an absolute privilege and honour to serve

Hastings District Councillor Ann Redstone, who has stepped down from her role after a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, says it has been an absolute privilege and an honour to serve.

In an interview with Hawke’s Bay App, the Heretaunga Ward councillor said it had been a difficult decision because “I loved my job”.

“Well, I was diagnosed with Parkinson's. They call it Parkinson's disease. It's actually Parkinson's disorder. I was diagnosed just over a year ago, not too long after the last elections, which was a bit of a shame.”

“But the reason I've decided to step down at this point of the triennium is because this way there will be a by-election and somebody would go into my seat. If I waited until October, the seat wouldn't need to be filled, and I didn't think that was fair to the ratepayers. I'd prefer that somebody was representing them.”

She says her main reason for resigning is because her “voice is impacted”.

“That's probably the only symptom that really affects me at council is my voice sometimes gives up the ghost, and that's not conducive to council meetings at all, having a voice around the table. So I decided because of that, that I should step back.”

However Redstone has wasted no time in throwing her support behind her choice to succeed her.

“I've shoulder tapped Hana Montaperto-Hendry, who is a young woman who lives in our community, but also comes from Clive, her family come from Clive in Whakatu.”

“She's a very switched on young woman. She's got a winery, they make wine. She's a sheet metal engineer by trade. She's on our volunteer fire brigade, and she used to run the Blackbridge Refuse Station. So I think she's very, very capable and has got a finger on the button on a whole lot of things. So yeah, I'd love to see her replace me. But as you say, it's an election process, so we'll see who stands first.”

Looking back on her career on Council, Redstone says it has been a very exciting three terms.

“I did stand on the coastal erosion platform as such. But the first real memory of council was the Havelock North water contamination, which happened just before I was elected. So that was one of my first really big issue that came to the table. And then that was followed not too long past that with the east face track. So yeah, we've actually had a very exciting three terms. Last term was Covid and this term Cyclone Gabrielle. So yeah, there's been some very big issues.”

“In my tenure on council, coastal erosion has been dealt with through the Coastal Hazards Committee. So that has been a good thing, I think, and is about to be adopted by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council. Hopefully, that means that's solved as much as we can do. “

Asked about the highlights of her term, Redstone says there are a couple.

“Waiaroha [Heretaunga Water Discovery Centre] would be my number one highlight. That sits alone in the world as being probably one of the places in the world that looks to the mana of water and tells people the story of where water comes from.”

“It's been fantastic for the children. I've watched them often down there going and pushing all the buttons and getting excited.”

She says the other high point was the Cape Coast Rock Revetment Walls.

“I've been very pleased about that because obviously that's what I stood for. And it seems to me that that's the very easiest way to give protection. And managed retreat, which was on the table before I started on council, is such a huge cost that it can never probably happen. So we have to look to making things stable on the coast.”

“The other one that probably comes to mind is the CBD revitalisation, which has been fantastic. We've pretty much sorted out the east end and now we're going to move west.”

Redstone says that there is one thing that she wishes should have been handled differently.

“I think one of the things that comes to mind is Plan Change 4. And I was probably a little bit alone on this one. Two or three of us that thought Plan Change 44 was a very, very good thing, but it's also allowed for some development on the east face of Te Mata.”

“I didn't want to see any development at all because personally I love that beautiful, whatever you would call it, part of the mountain. So I would've preferred to see no development, but we probably did the best possible thing we could for it on that, and there'll be no further development once these three houses have been built.”

As for her future, Redstone sees herself still being involved in the community.

“I've sort of been involved in the community for the 40 years I've been here. I started the Hawke's Bay Clean Sea Coalition 40 years ago. And following that, about 15 years ago started WOW, which deals to coastal erosion. So yeah, I don't think I can help myself, quite honestly.”

As for the ratepayers who elected her, Redstone says: “I'd like to say thank you to them all. It was an absolute privilege and an honour to serve.”

“And I think that's one thing that everyone that gets to council has to keep in mind, that there are people who elected you and the people who you're working for. And that's what I've kept in mind for the seven years I've been there. And I felt very honoured by the response when I said I was retiring, actually. So yeah, thanks to everybody.”

Watching the accompanying video to see the full interview with Ann Redstone.