32 year old Bevan Smith is a local family man and business professional who is primed and excited by the opportunity to give back to a community he has always called home.
Bevan represents the next generation of leaders needed for Invercargill. Youthful and full of energy his previous studies and professional vocation demonstrates his achievements in delivering top results. It’s these behaviours along with his interest in local politics that he is eager to bring to the city council.
Originally from Gore, Bevan studied economics eventually finishing top of his class at SIT majoring in accounting. He then went on to complete his Commerce Degree at Otago University.
Bevan’s time in the army territorials taught him discipline and respect while also offering the humbling experience of helping people in crisis during the Christchurch earthquakes.
Realising his interest in economics and investment Bevan took the opportunity to develop his career by moving to Auckland and working corporate jobs for Craigs Investment Partners and ASB Bank.
3 years ago Bevan found the opportunity to move home to Southland and take on a role as Financial Adviser with Lifetime Invercargill. The profession allows him to meet members of our community from different walks of life to advise on their financial future and security.
Bevan believes many of the attributes he displays in his professional career will transfer to the requirements of council. “Both roles have a community focus, helping people to be happy in their lives and happy with the place they live. Just as I help people plan their financial future I want to help Invercargill plan for its future”.
Living locally with his partner Alana and 13 year old daughter, Bevan is relishing being able to enjoy our great outdoor activities such as hunting, tramping and skiing.
Considering himself an honest, democratically-minded person Bevan is ready to commit to the responsibility of being a city councilor.
Bevan’s key positions are:
Vibrancy + Development
Council needs to be an enabler of development. Council serves a regulatory function within the community, however this often gets in the way of progress and investment in the city. Council needs to work on ways that tilts the balance towards encouraging future development.
In Invercargill, we are fortunate to have serval organisation’s whose purpose is to promote growth and development, such as Great South, ILT & Coin South. Invercargill City Councill needs to work with these organisations.
The 2014 Southland Regional Development Strategy has a target date of 2025, with 2-3 years to run Southland and Invercargill is on track to achieving its goal of increasing its combined population by 10,000.
However, there are significate challenges on the horizon, like SIT losing its independence and possibly its Zero Frees scheme. This means, that right now, we need double our efforts to revitalise our city, to attract people and business to our awesome city.
One area I personally am interested in, is encouraging new bars and restaurants to the inner city, with the idea of having more diversity of offerings. Currently the offerings within the city, I would describe as monotonous and lacking innovation, with the odd exception.
While I am in favor of the council opening the doors to Invercargill, and welcoming people and new business to the city, I am not in favor of the council getting involved directly in commercial projects, with the possible exception of public- private partnerships, with the private sector taking the lead.
I believe that operating businesses or commercial projections is well outside of the scope of council. Alternately I would aim to protect ratepayers from financial and business risks, as Council has had a poor track record of getting investment decisions right.
The new museum needs to be fast tracked, the longer it takes to start construction, the higher the costs will increase. Watching the progress of the inner-city development, I know it can be achieved faster. I would like the completion of the new museum within the next council term, or close to
being finished. Whilst we wait for the start of the construction of the new museum, an entire generation of Southland school children are missing out on the uniquely educational experience.
The museum serves an important purpose for Invercargill and Southland. It would serve to tell our story and provide another activity on a rainy day. I see the opportunity for the new museum to be far more dynamic than the old museum, think a Southland version of Te Papa.
The most important function of council is to provide; roading, water and waste services. Also providing well maintained parks and public facilities.
I support the current contract with Southland disAbility Enterprises to provide recycling services to ICC area. The service that is being delivered, is of a high quality – do not fix what is not broken.
The current arrangements mean employment for a large number of people with disabilities, which is an incredible social good!
Rates increases & Finance
Rates should not increase at a greater rate than inflation, and council should not be increasing spending in real terms.
When rates increase at a higher rate than inflation, people on fixed incomes are having to cut back on essential spending – like food on the table.
There will be areas of waste that can be eliminated. But care must be taken not to cut spending in core areas.
Council must maintain its current AA+ credit rating, and I am in favor of the current self-imposed debt level restrictions. Having low debt servicing costs means that future rates are not wasted on higher interest payments.
One of the most topical subjects of this election. I am opposed to the current 3 Waters proposal.
There are several reasons why I hold this position. I believe that the issues regarding our water infrastructure have been overstated and the benefits that the 3 Waters proposal offer are also exaggerated. Cost to bring the water infrastructure up to standard under the current structure would be less than that under the proposed reform, according to the analysis done by the ICC.
We would be cross subsiding other areas of the country, while losing our representation. 3 Waters would take service delivery way from a democratically elected council to an undemocratic entity. There will be limited accountability with the new super entity and there will be areas of the South Island that simply will get less investment; Invercargill being one of those areas.
It is not practical that one entity manages the Water infrastructure of most of the South Island. The reform will take us form one extreme (numerous smaller entities) to another extreme (one giant bureaucratic juggernaut), where I believe the answer is somewhere in the middle.
Any reform that is proposed should be targeted to areas that need and want it. The scheme should be entirely voluntary, as it was proposed right at the start of the 3 Waters Reform. Any reform has to have direct democratic oversight.