Policies & position on key subjects

TDC has lost its way. Many of the people elected to TDC have forgotten the people who put them there and why people elected them. The way the dam was handled is one of many examples.

Those on Council now have already had their chance to implement their policies and the results show TDC is now in deep financial trouble with debt almost doubling in this last term to almost $200M.

Rate Increases

I want to see rate increases capped at the rate of inflation. The Council needs to start living within its means like the rest of us have to.

Compliance costs

The TDC red tape is hurting the local economy as every time someone wants to do anything such as build a house or renovate, start up a business, expand an existing business, make improvements to their farms or do anything that creates jobs, the TDC seems to intentionally dream up as many negative and costly barriers as possible.

When good responsible businesses are doing well and creating jobs then we all do well and there is then money to make things happen. Businesses create the wealth for our community to function but there are some in our community that can not see the importance of this.

We do need good fair rules to protect the environment but the council culture needs to change to a "How can we help". 

The TDC needs to work better and more efficiently with everyone and, if elected, I will be a strong, loud voice on council to stand up for everyone's rights. 

There are too many petty and costly rules that cost everyone money and stress that need to be reduced. We need to review the district plan to make it more user friendly, reduce staff numbers and lower compliance costs. TDC is trying to drive the local economy along with the hand brake on. 

I am committed to keeping the council and bureaucrats honest and fair to everyone.


The TDC needs to drastically improve its consultation process with the community. There are too many examples where TDC have not done a good job such as the Dam and the Mapua wharf which led to increased costs and a problem for the boat club.

I support the Mapua boat club and its efforts to have continuous access to a boat ramp as they were not consulted. At the time the media reported Councillor Trevor Norris saying that not consulting the Boat club was a minor over sight. That’s like saying the Titanic had a minor leak. This mismanagement of the process needs to be improved

and I am committed to speaking out for fair play.

The Dam


I have always opposed the Waimea dam because of the financial model and the way the Council went about approving it, the secret meetings, unresolved issues and approval without the majority of ratepayers being consulted or approval and this all so close to the election.

The dam has been started and work is well underway but its not to late to look over the whole project and revisit the financial model. There are to many people being forced to pay for the dam who do not benefit from it. Those for the dam have nothing to fear or hide if all is above board and secret meetings & deals exposed.

Many years ago I raised an idea with TDC to pipe water from the lakes and pipe it down the railway reserve and generate electricity at the same time. A joint venture with NCC, TDC & Network Tasman could have been an idea to look at. Its all to late now but at least I don't critcise without having a positve suggestion.

I believe the current plan for the dam is flawed on a number of issues and I like many others are concerned at all the meetings behind closed door.. Where is the proof the dam will be fit for purpose, where is the proof it will charge the aquifers and why all the secrecy? TDC needs to improve water quality in some areas.

I am also concerned about what I am told were corrupt, secret back room deals, which ignored ratepayers, are very questionable practices and these all need investigating.

I find it alarming that the previous TDC CEO who for some years had been involved with dam negotiations is now a director of Taylors who have a big contract to build the dam.

If elected I want to look over all the history, costings, engineering, legal situation and why some Councilors changed their vote at the last minute.

I also want to look at the options now, put some ideas and solutions on the table, look at all options and other alternatives and seek approval from the majority of ratepayers on the best way forward for the future.

I would even consider supporting a stop work proposal provided this did not incur any major extra costs until many questions are answered.

Dam article...Who voted for the Dam......Back room deals ..- see another article ....The Dam - more revealed ....Dam Info

Debt Levels

One of my companies held Govt contracts for about 10 years and every year we were within plus or minus 1% of budget and most years below budget and all my companies are debt free so I know how to manage money wisely.

Council debt levels need to be reduced further as soon as possible. Debt should be kept low so that when a disaster occurs the Council has the ability to access emergency funding as required but the debt should be reduced once the region is back on its feet.

When a major disaster occurs most people have their own problems to deal with so increasing rates is a very bad idea as it would hurt people who are already hurting.

There are some projects where some debt is acceptable where future ratepayers benefit from long term infrastructure.


Rural Land protection & Farmers

I work mostly in Nelson, I have a number of rural based business operations and live in rural Tasman up the Motueka Valley and I have neighbours that are farmers all around me so over the past 40 years I have gained a very good knowledge of rural and urban issues.

I support rezoning land to protect our prime farmland. We are limited with the amount of good productive land and it should never be used for mass housing subdivisions whilst there is plenty of land available that is not prime farm land. I clearly support protecting productive rural farm land.

Council tells us that over 70% of all Resource Consents are approved without a problem so why not build most of these features into the district plan so people can do more things with less red tape, lower costs and less Council interference as of right.

Unlike most in Council, farmers and business people have the skills, experience and common sense to manage their businesses wisely and responsibly. I am seeing far too much TDC interference, un-necessary costs and red tape that is hurting our economy and I want to see things improved. Councils have a very poor track record of managing the business of business.

I have 5 companies my self and they are all debt free so I know how to manage money wisely and get things done. If elected and Council won't tell you what's going on - I will. One of my companies is Mainland TV, Radio & Online so I have direct access to all electronic media.

Low cost and Alternative housing

The TDC needs to start recognizing that there are people who choose to live in various types of dwellings particularly in rural areas that may be a little different. TDC needs to build better guidelines with more flexibility into the District plan to enable people to live as they choose with better and more flexible checks and balances. This also applies to temporary accommodation for workers which must be made easier to provide.

I don’t want to see Council staff taking ratepayers to court, wasting your precious rates on hurting people who just want to live peacefully. I want to see all legal matters being dealt with by elected Councilors and mediation to sort out any conflicts. The staff must stop bullying people and start serving the people who pay their wages.

TDC Assets

I would oppose any move to try and sell off TDC assets such as the Airport. Port Company etc. Harvesting trees at the time when log prices are high and when the trees are mature is a good idea I would support but these areas must be replanted. I have some serious concerns about some Forestry practices and I would like to see TDC set up better guidelines with the Industry so we don't end up with logs in the rivers like we did in the Feb. 2018 storm.

Free Parking

I fully support the continuation of free parking in the entire Tasman region including Richmond. The TDC does need to improve the available number of free parking spots in Richmond and some other areas such as the Mapua wharf area. I do not support TDC building a parking building in Richmond. There are many better parking options.

Storm Water

We have seen flood damage occurring in a number of places in the Tasman district and this must be an area of high priority. Council needs to perform better. There are a number of very serious flood potential problems in the region, For example the Riwaka Valley, behind ( East) of Richmond etc where huge forest clearing has occurred.

In a very large storm this will cause huge damage as we have all seen many times. I believe that large areas of trees should not be cut and cleared at the same time so the area can recover better.

Motueka River stop banks

Whilst the stop banks need a major upgrade I believe we need to start at the most vulnerable points first. I have a number of ideas I wish to put on the table for consideration to reduce the costs and improve the effectiveness based on sound proven engineering.

Richmond Water quality

Lew Solomon from Richmond raised concerns at a Nelson Marlborough District Health Board meeting in July about the level of nitrates in the Richmond drinking water,. He also sought information from more than 20 councils around New Zealand on the nitrate levels in their drinking water supplies and found Richmond had the highest.

Gary Watson

My wife Christine and I have been happily married for over 46 years and we own a number companies including Mainland TV, Radio & Online sites. We have lived in the Tasman region for over 40 years and we have both supported the region with passion and commitment.

All our 5 companies are debt free and our broadcast sites provide TV channels, Radio stations, Internet, WIFI and telephones across Tasman, Nelson, Golden Bay and Marlborough to many thousands of people every day so we have been serving the top of the South Island for over 26 years.

I hope I can count on your vote so I can look after your interests and the majority in the Tasman region.












Authorised by Gary Watson, 200 Motueka River Westbank Road Motueka