It’s time for positive action to make Hastings the number one provincial city says businessman and sports advocate Damon Harvey, who wants to bring new ideas, energy and enthusiasm to the Hastings District Council.
“I’m considerably younger than most of the current councillors, some who have been there for longer than 12 years.
“It’s time to roll up my sleeves and take action to provide greater support to local businesses, improve the health and well being of Hastings people and create a more vibrant and safer city,” said Mr Harvey, who will stand for the Hastings & Havelock North Ward.
Mr Harvey, a founding director of Attn marketing pr! and publisher of The Profit business magazine, says Hastings District Council should “jump hoops to support local businesses” rather than putting hurdles in the way.
“We need to grow the heart of Hastings and put locals first.
“I’m going to push strongly for a ‘local business first policy’ when it comes to the council tendering out its services. We need to be looking at ways of growing local businesses, which will create more jobs for locals and generate a more vibrant community.”
“I bring a strong business background, regional governance experience and have connected deeply with the community through my roles as chairman of Sport Hawke’s Bay, co-chair of the Jarrod Cunningham Youth Sport Trust and the Paora Winitana & Paul Henare Basketball Academy.
“These organisations are making a positive difference to the youth of Hastings and has given me firsthand experience and knowledge of what our youth need.”
“I also offer a younger family orientated perspective to the council table. We have five daughters who call Hastings home and this keeps me in tune with the needs of the districts young people.
Born and raised in Flaxmere and Hastings, Mr Harvey, 44, is a strong advocate for the benefits of sport and recreation creating stronger community spirit and pride.
“If we show this passion on the sport fields around Hastings, we can surely do it in business as well as other parts of life in our communities.
He also wants to see greater career pathways for young people in Hawke’s Bay.
“We need to create an environment where young entrepreneurs can run global businesses from Hastings and people succeed, where they have no barriers to their dreams and we need to provide a place for them to prosper.
“I think we all want a more vibrant Hastings, one where the CBD is buzzing with business, our parks are full of young families having fun and the district maximises its natural attributes for growing great things.
Mr Harvey says he will campaign for greater development of the jewel in Hawke’s Bay’s tourism crown, Te Mata Peak and connecting it with Havelock North and Hastings CBD’s as well committing to a major events strategy.
“Te Mata Peak is rated one of the New Zealand’s top tourism attractions, yet its potential is not fully realised. I’ve recently been involved in a project to get a mountain bike and walking track network connecting the centre of Havelock North with the Peak and this will have a positive economic and social impact.
“We risk losing the district’s largest and only major event, the Horse of the Year which brings in $12 million to the local economy so we need to look at how the council provides support to our top level events, or they will never be successful.”
Safer communities will also be at the top of his priority list, as is sorting out the Hastings CBD.