Timaru businessman Nigel Bowen was sworn in this week as the newly elected councillor for the Timaru ward of the Timaru District Council, after winning the by-election for the position by a substantial amount. The Courier put five questions to him about his new role.
Q. What were your thoughts when you saw you’d won the by-election by such a convincing margin?
I was genuinely quite surprised by the margin, being the first time I have run for council. There are lots of unknowns and, although people tell you that you will do well, you must take it with a grain of salt as people around you have a vested interest. I thought it would be lot closer and that whoever won may have a margin of a few hundred.
Q. What sort of feedback have you had since the by-election result was announced?
I have had positive feedback from the community and it is nice to see people having buy-in when they know someone in council. The benefits in this are huge as, hopefully, people will stay engaged.
Q. What are your main aims as a newly appointed councillor?
The first couple of months are very much about meeting with people within the various council departments to fully understand the workings and issues and opportunities. My main aim is to stay available for the community and continue to be a voice for their wants and needs within our district. We have lots of passionate people in town and I am hoping I can be a catalyst for them standing up and being heard.
Q. What are you most looking forward to in your new role?
I am really looking forward to the long-term plan process and balancing the needs and wants of our community and representing what the community want. My challenge to the community is to stay involved and if you have anything you want to talk about, pick up the phone or email any of the councillors.
Q. Are you expecting to have to make any changes in your work/family life?
Not really. We have planned on the chance that if I got in what that would mean to my time, and it really is about maintaining structure and balance with family, work and council.