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Aly Cook becomes one of the few female candidates in history for Mayor for Tasman District Council

Aly Cook for Tasman Mayor

It was with the passing of the Electoral Act 1893 that women became eligible, not only to vote, but also to be elected as Councillors and Mayors.

51 years later the first woman Councillor Laura Ingram was elected to the Motueka Borough Council in 1944. Records show Elaine Henry as the Deputy Mayor of Richmond Borough from 1986-1989 who also ran unsuccessfully for the position of Mayor of Tasman in 1998 some 24 years ago. As far as we can find there has never been a woman elected to the position of Mayor of Tasman.

Aly Cook is putting her hat in the ring for Mayor. Although mostly known as a recording artist, it’s not Aly Cook’s skills as a musician that she’s relying on, but her prowess in business activities that are not in the public view yet are very much part of what the public sees. Working within her role as a self employed PR and Publicist, Aly returned last week from a media trip north, after arranging a photo shoot for a prominent woman’s magazine and setting up an interview on TVNZ’s Seven Sharp for clients NZ country Music legends Brendan Dugan and Jodi Vaughan.

From running the advertising budgets for major music tours, to working on luxury property developments, to selling a show jumper she bred to the King of Bahrain in 2019, Aly Cook works hard on every project that she’s involved with, she succeeds and gives everything 150%.

To her credit Aly has been twice nominated for NEXT magazine’s New Zealand Woman of the Year in 2011 and 2016 for her contribution to the Arts.

Aly was also part of a group of mums whose inception for Taste Tasman won them the Supreme Award for the top of the south region in 2006 Trustpower Community Awards, Aly worked on this all whilst raising 3 small children at the time, and raising funds for Tasman School, as she dipped her toe back into her previous working life as a Tour Coordinator, Publicist & Promoter across Australasia in the 80s. The list of names that she has toured with in the 80s, or shows she has worked on, is extensive from INXS to Cilla Black to the Bolshoi Ballet.

Alys’ first event management role was in 1988 at 25 years of age for the Icehouse, Sharon O’Neill concert at Trafalgar Park attracting a crowd of 11,000 for the first time, a record size event at that time.

Aly has brought Sharon O’Neill back home for tours. been the publicist for the likes of Tommy Emmanuel and responsible for advertising budgets for larger international shows like Andrea Bocelli’s Spark Arena Concert and all ticketing set up across Australasia.

Aly also worked for Trafalgar event’s Barry Galbraith and Aldo Miccio as the publicist for two first time events to come to our region with the first Warriors Match against St George Illawarra Dragons and for the first Phoenix match against the Central Coast Mariners, which were both successful events held at Trafalgar park

Aly says “I am running for Mayor now because I am deeply concerned about the future generations. We have seen the publicly unpopular Waimea Dam project go ahead. This is not a dam that is supplying household water directly, this is a misunderstanding by many. Its main purpose is to serve horticulturists and primary industry and to fill aquifers on the plains into the future which is important for water security, but there are no physical pipes or reticulation out of the dam or hydro at this point. The dam’s original predicted budget has reportedly blown out from approximately 76 Million to 195 Million and the build is not near completion.”

Cook for Tasman news
Aly’s nominee for NEXT NZ Woman of the Year (Arts, Culture & Heritage) 2016.

Aly goes on to say “It appears that nobody seems to be held accountable for that massive blow out of budget, as far as I can see. I don’t see accountability anywhere in the form of anyone putting their hand up to take responsibility for this massive budget over run.”

“My understanding from reports at the time of the original budget, in an open public Council meeting it was quoted by a member of the council’s executive team “as good as a fixed price contract” Well clearly it wasn’t!”

“My work has always involved, in some way, staying inside a budget and being accountable for those decisions. Why is it that Tasman District Council can have budget blowouts of that magnitude and not have anyone in senior management or within the governance structure of council be held accountable? “

“It’s a question I would like an answer to, as would many ratepayers”

“At the moment I am studying the Council Codes of Conduct as I believe, after speaking to many people in councils around the country, that it is this document that muzzles & hobbles councillors from being able to question or expose potential corruption, when they see it and have such potential corruption exposed and investigated completely independently. I’m not saying there is corruption, I’m saying the document in my view can protect against exposure of the truth to the public, who have a right to know about it. “

“I see my potential job as Mayor to be able to be a voice for the people who put me there. So this will be the first thing, if I get voted in as mayor, that I will NOT be signing, until I’ve gone through it with a fine tooth comb and amended the document to allow councillors to do their job in questions and represent the public. LGNZ recommends Codes of Conduct which work in accordance with the Local Government Act 2002 but different councils have different interpretations. My understanding is that TDC’s Codes of Conduct are at the tougher end of those recommendations. “

“As if I am muzzled and hobbled, I cannot do my job well as a representative and be a voice for the people. Neither can any other councillor. “

“After all, point 3 in the introduction of the Code of Conduct is to “Enhance the credibility and accountability of the local authority to its communities”. The rest of the document needs to reflect that statement.

Once adopted, a code can only be amended (or substituted by a replacement Code) by a vote of at least 75 per cent of members present at a meeting of the Council. “

“So this is why it is VERY important that a good percentage of those voted onto council are new and want to change the operating culture of council and make changes for the betterment of the ratepayer they represent. People need to choose carefully and talk to candidates. “

“Codes of Conduct are important documents that are needed, but when it goes over the line of not allowing a representative to do his or her job for the rate payers that voted them in, then there needs to be amendments.“

“I can be like a dog with a bone when I want to get to the bottom of something” “The music industry makes you tough, it’s very dog eat dog and full of tricky binding contracts that silence people.”

“I see a lot that does not work smoothly for the betterment of the rate payer. For example, this morning I have had a call from an earthworks contractor who called on behalf of a number of regional contractors. We are in a state of emergency with roads closed and an abundance of work needing to be done and they are hobbled because a couple of firms hold the contract and instead of having every contractor out there helping to clear our roads, it will take months because one or two large contractor won’t subcontract and we have excavators and earthworks machinery available sitting idle that could be helping to get our roads cleared and lives back to normal far quicker if it were not for the red tape. I accept contracts can be exclusive but a state of emergency should surely override them to get our economy and community back on track, in an emergency situation . It should be all hands on deck to clear roads quickly and that’s clearly not the case. “

“We have massive gravel build up around the district and once catchment boards used to go to all rivers and streams once a year and clear out the gravel, use it in roading. This was great flood protection and saved money. The Waimea Dam I have been told has purchased rock from Korere and sand from Westport. When we have waterways totally clogged up with gravel causing properties to flood quicker. So I ask about this and scientists for council apparently say extracting gravel lowers the aquifer? “

Aly Cook news
Aly with all Nominees NEXT NZ Woman of the Year (Arts, Culture & Heritage) 2011.

“One thing I have learned about science and reports in general and in relation to property development or opposing developments, is that when money becomes involved, that reports go in the favour of who is paying for the science. We need to look at ways to rectify that! “

“Now with three waters threatening to put the control of our most precious resource centralised under the control of unelected officials, allowing anything to be added to our drinking water under the guise of public health. “That is a real concern!” Tasman being lumped into Wellington and the east coast under the new proposal, I cannot see that our region’s infrastructure will take precedence over the Capital’s complex water issues going forward.”

“In listening to the community, my feeling at this point is more people are strongly opposed to three waters than for it. “

“We have a central government railroading through these reforms. A letter came in the last few days to the Outdoors & Freedom Party and many other groups who submitted detailed submissions against this bill. They received a letter refusing for them to be able to speak to their submissions. The committee is only hearing submissions making specific recommendations; they are simply refusing to let anyone who’s submission was against the bill, speak to it. Again a lack of democracy!”

The letter read:

The committee has made decisions on who to invite to make an oral submission, focusing on hearing from:

  • Territorial authorities
  • Mana whenua
  • Rural water entities
  • Water sector stakeholders
  • Employment representative groups
  • Environmental representative groups
  • Financial representative groups
  • Submitters who have made specific recommendations for improving the bill.

“I am also saddened at the state of our communities, the division that has happened over differing opinions on the covid response in NZ,has divided our communities, our families, our friends. How do we put our relationships and the cohesiveness of our communities back together when employers in our region have fired family and friends via the mandates, vaccine passports being installed & those whom were segregated many of them now permanently reject giving custom to those businesses that rejected them , even though some businesses had no choice. That problem is a lot bigger that people realise.”

“As our prime minister openly & publicly backed a two tier society and the ramification of this down the track has affected the cohesiveness of our communities.”

“With more severe weather events and climatic changes we need cohesiveness in our communities. “

“I won’t be dragged into personal debate on vaccines as I believe it’s a personal choice to make with your Doctor . What I know is that “health is NOT one size fits all!”

“A livelihood threatened is not a choice, it’s bribery and undermining the Doctor and patient relationship. “

“The negative messaging from the central government has had a lasting impact , as has excluding our ratepayers from facilities that they are paying for, as the Tasman District voluntarily did, is not without impact.”

“Most of our population has had covid now, vaccinated or not, and soon we will follow the UK and Europe as they are now, barely a mask in sight and nobody talks about covid anymore.”

“The ramifications are that it will go on affecting businesses in our area as well as lives for a long time to come. The government doesn’t address this, and yes, a lot of it is at the central government level, but it is at local government and local community level that the healing begins.”

“Part of the council’s role is to promote social wellbeing of the community.”

“It is an elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about because of ‘Gaslighting’ “

“Anyone that criticises the covid response is Gaslit with the term ‘Antivax’ “

“Anyone that criticises Three Waters is gaslit with the term ‘Racist.’”

“I am standing under the banner of The Outdoors and Freedom Party with two other wonderful Maori women Hine Afeaki is running for Manukau Ward Councillor & the Otahuhu-Mangere Community board and Donna Pokere-Phillips our party co-leader is standing for Mayor of Hamilton and the new Maaori ward kirikiriroa . All of us are standing against Three Waters. There are many Maori who don’t agree with the Three Waters. “

“It really saddens me that Three Waters have been turned into a racial issue when it’s the rate payer issue over council infrastructure assets and centralisation. Three Waters has come from He Pua Pua the report states Aotearoa’s constitution is rooted in Tiriti o Waitangi and the United Nations Declaration of rights of Indigenous peoples”

“United Nation’s influence in our indigenous affairs is clearly having a counter effect on social cohesion via Three Waters. Rather than uniting our country it’s dividing it”

“With the Outdoors and Freedom Party we stand for Freedom from excessive government and international interference in the lives of New Zealanders’.”

“It is no conspiracy theory that the UN is having far too much influence on our policy making. It’s clearly written in He Puapua and it’s clearly been stated by the PM that she wishes to be the first to fully implement the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals into all our policy making. There are negative effects to that move! “

“It’s now come to our Local Government doorstep with Three Waters. I would also say it’s not strictly this government’s fault as the He Pua Pua report was brought about by John Key’s signing of the UN Self-Determination declaration. Which is why I will never ever vote for either major party again.”

“The changes must begin in Local Government then Central level. “

“This is where I believe a woman’s influence at the top at Local Government level can be a good thing with empathy, compassion and out of the box critical thinking that will be required going forward”

“NZ and our area have an unhealthy history, with past generations of council who chose to make dumps at the deltas of rivers and estuaries, those old closed tip sites have cost thousands to clean up for the next generation. Bad decisions made now will still be being paid or by our grandchildren”.

“Several years working in property development showed me the downside of making ex orchard land be brought to a standard where people can live on it safely. As much as the horticulture business has been a back bone of our region it has poisoned the ground. Most people don’t realise that one of the huge costs of development is soil testing and the mitigation processes of the soil to make it safe for people to live on, after years of sprays leaving the ground laden in Arsenic and other chemicals. Heaven forbid, should you have a piece of land that had the spray shed where the tractor spray units were filled and over flowed, because soil can cost thousands of dollars to get rid of this just in just one spot.”

“This is where the Outdoors and Freedom Party values come into my own values. How do we encourage better care of our water, land, soil, air, wildlife and of our people?”

“Natural and organic regenerative approaches to agriculture & horticulture to promote community wellbeing and thriving rural communities would be a good start.”

“At National & Local body level we need a democracy where people play an active role in decision making, knowing that their views are valued and will be listened to. Freedom from excessive government and international interference in the lives of New Zealanders’.”

“More self-sufficiency for New Zealand and New Zealanders’ and transparent representation and informed decision making, which will promote a long-term vision for protecting and promoting the interests of all New Zealanders, our children and grandchildren.”

Cook for Tasman.

Visit Aly’s campaign website or Facebook page for more information.

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