This blog is part of a series of blogs profiling all candidates standing for Councils across the region who are 35 or under as we aim to increase youth engagement in local politics. Seed Waikato is non-partisan.
Alana is a mum, ecologist, and farmer’s daughter. Her work in ecological, geothermal, and water monitoring has taken her all over the district, and gives her a great overview of the issues the Waikato region faces. Growing up on a farm, she knows that most farmers care deeply about the environment and believes that with the right policies, environmental outcomes, and profitable rural businesses can go hand in hand. She loves where she lives, and wants the best possible management of the region for future generations. She doesn’t feel confident this is happening with the current make-up of council.
You can keep up with Alana on her:
Q&A with Alana
1. What is your vision for the region?
I have a vision for the Waikato of a diversified low-carbon local economy, with clean water, thriving biodiversity, and excellent public transport links within and outside the region. There will be a strong sense of community and pride in our region - with our citizens living increasingly locally and sustainably.
2. Why did you decide to run in this year’s elections?
I was frustrated at the lack of choice in candidates. As a Mum of two young kids, I want to do what I can to ensure all kids grow up with an environment they can thrive in. I‘m also an ecologist and a farmer’s daughter. I know good work towards clean water and biodiversity restoration is already happening on the ground over much of our rural land, but we can definitely do more. I hope that having a foot in both these worlds will enable me to facilitate conversations, rather than confrontations between our urban and rural communities.
3. What are your top 3 priorities in your campaign?
This is hard for me, as I really do have four. Putting climate change front and centre at the council table, restoring biodiversity, improving freshwater quality, and building bridges between our urban and rural communities. I believe there are many synergies between these four issues, and addressing one in turn benefits the others.
4. What’s been your biggest learning in your campaigning?
My biggest learning is that many people don't understand the difference between district/city council and regional council. I have been working in the environmental industry, and deal with regional plans and consents all the time, and I took it for granted that it is actually really confusing. I have been summing it up as district/city = issues in our towns, regional = issues over the wider environment.
5. What do you think needs to be done to engage young people in voting?
It is hard to register to vote when you are young, and in a different flat every year. Moving to online voting would remove some of the barriers. I also think we need to have civics education at school. I have had friends tell me that they don't understand the issues, and they don't feel smart enough to vote. But every voice matters. We need to let our young people know that the issues that they care about ARE the important issues, so they should vote on those issues!
6. What skills and experience do you bring to the table?
In my working career I have worked in ecology and conservation, geothermal monitoring and water testing and analysis. These roles have taken me all over the district, to some very special and out-of-the-way places, and have given me a great overview of the issues our region faces, and the functions of Waikato Regional Council.
7. What sets you apart from other candidates?
My ecological knowledge combined with my rural background, and being a mum sets me apart. These three characteristics will help me to represent a wide spectrum of people in our community.