By-election candidate Cook tasks Tauranga City Council to Reduce Debt and Embrace Elderly

Photograph of a woman overlooking Council owned Smiths Farm
Council owned Smiths Farm (off Cambridge Road) is earmarked for special housing. Gillian Cook says Tauranga City Council could partner up with a retirement village entrepreneur to the benefit of the city.


Cook tasks Tauranga City Council to Reduce Debt and Embrace Elderly

“Flip Tauranga city’s debt on its head and partner up with an experienced retirement village owner/operator”, demands TCC by-election candidate Gillian Cook.

“Village operators are posting big profits. Should our city become a major shareholder in its own right, the profits can stay in-house to assist the current and apparent struggling residential care industry, cap rates and so much more”, says Gillian.

Debt predicted to rise $10M each year

Debt levels in Tauranga city are predicted to rise a further $10m each year for the next ten years. The former journalist and aged care worker recently met with a successful business operator/trust who is “already demonstrating success” in crossing entrepreneurial village ownership with residential care.

“They really care about housing, elderly, and all aspects of their community. It can be done. It is being done and there’s every reason our council also can, given a collective will.”

Gillian has also identified a council site, known as the Smith’s Farm off Cambridge Road, “TCC may choose to simply be a shareholder but I’d hope for a more inclusive community involvement or at least oversee the residential care side of things.”

Time to get involved with residential care facilities

For the facilities already in existence, Gillian is tasking TCC to lobby central government through its national board, Local Government New Zealand.

“First, an investigation into the funding of home care and residential care, secondly, the operation of villages and what is their responsibility to their residential care facilities, and thirdly, to remove any legislative blocks preventing local government inclusion with community”, stipulated Gillian.

Staff paying for residents’ basic toiletries

Gillian has had first-hand experience within the aged care industry. She recently left a job providing activities at a dementia facility to contend the Tauranga City Council By-Election.

“Staff turnover is high in the aged care industry and Tauranga is no exception. Due to staff shortages it’s not uncommon for workers to do double shifts. Exhaustion from what is already a physical and mentally demanding job is also not uncommon. Personally, I know of three facilities in Tauranga where staff paid for residents’ basic toiletries because there was no budget in the business kitty for such things.

Compassionate and caring leadership needed

“Traditionally in New Zealand, city and district councils may argue their core business is about pipes, not people”, says Gillian. “That is nonsense. We are about people but first we need money in the bank, not rising debt. This is not about taking over central government’s core duties. To do business such as I’m suggesting is simply working smart while also demonstrating compassionate and caring leadership.”

Contact Gillian Cook, phone: 021 143 5943

Authorised by Leo Mangos, 11 Linley Terrace, Brookfield, Tauranga