Growing up around farming in Waimakariri has taught me plenty about people and issues in this area. And a career of 25 years as an agricultural journalist has taught me even more.
I believe I’m best described as a consultative, determined and effective worker for community projects. With me, you can expect a patient, persistent and well-prepared approach to getting things done. I’m committed to making Waimakarariri a better place to live, no matter who or what you do, where you come from or whatever your politics.
I strongly believe that local government is about representing people, advocating for ideas and implementing policy for common good. I also believe we can be optimistic about what’s possible, with good will and good leadership.
Farming, journalism and involvement in my community has definitely shaped my outlook:
Working from home in West Eyreton, I edited the New Zealand Farmers Weekly for 10 years, including experience as a Press Gallery reporter at Parliament, then did a couple of years as a senior business reporter for The Press and other Stuff titles.
As a journalist I’ve also published three nationally distributed rural books, a family memoir Straight off the Tussock (2005), Kiwi Farmers Guide to Life (Bateman Books June 2021) and The Clarence – People and Places of Waiau Toa (October 2022).
After completing a B.A and a post-graduate diploma in journalism at Canterbury University in the ‘90s I joined the Northern Outlook, then moved Auckland for five years, writing for farming papers including the old NZ Farmer and Straight Furrow. Rural journalism exposes you to a huge variety of people and issues, from farm management concerns to international politics. It’s also a job that requires patience, an analytical outlook and good people skills.
I believe it’s a background that’s prepared me well for my current role as a district councillor representing the Oxford/Ohoka ward.
Not long after I went to Auckland for my journalism job, the Swannanoa sheep and crop farm that I grew up on, Larundel, was converted to dairy. Fortunately, the old home block is still in the family and my three brothers and I continue to enjoy it with our own families.
Returning home from Auckland in 2005, Fiona and I moved to a small block at West Eyreton that my dad Gordon used to run as the Eyre Enterprises machinery co-op.
Back home I played rugby and cricket locally before getting involved in club administration, including three years as president of North Canterbury Rugby (2010-12)
That time also included two years for Stuff in Christchurch, covering the 2014 General Election. I then covered business for Stuff, with a focus on earthquake recovery, small business and agriculture.
In 2017, after a year with a Christchurch PR agency, I went out on my own as Tim Fulton Media, offering writing and communications advice for local, regional and national clients including Norwood machinery group and CRV Ambreed.
As a Swannanoa Cricket player and committee member I helped to drive the club’s return to Swannanoa Domain from Mandeville Sports Centre in 2009. At that time we obtained a loan from a Waimakarari District Council discretionary fund for a new artificial turf on the old concrete strip.
This funding put us in a position to restore the club pavillion, which started life generations ago as a tote box at the old Mandeville Jockey Club at Mandeville Domain (I love heritage restoration).
After re-joining Ohoka Rugby Club with my young family, in 2016 I was honoured to be awarded life membership of the club and then served four years as Ohoka president from late 2017 to early 2022.
During that time the club installed new LED lights on the kids Rippa field and contracted to install a replacement set of LEDs on the main No.3 practice field. This long-term project required a combination of club and grant funding, including Waimakarari District Council funding, totalling $75,000. With support from many people, the club is in good health at both junior and senior levels, in playing numbers and performance.
I’ve always found you can get a lot done with the right attitude.
* Since I’m a district councillor, here’s a bit about local government.
Responsibility of the Council and
The Council is responsible for the overall
governance of the District Council.
It sets Council policy and monitors its implementation.
The Community Boards seek and represent
their community’s views and advocate for the
interests of their community.
The Boards also make decisions related to community issues where authority has been delegated to the Boards from the Council.
The Waimakariri District Council is
Four Community Boards representing the
community comprised of:
Kaiapoi-Tuahiwi Community Board
5 members + 2 councillors
Woodend-Sefton Community Board
5 members + 2 councillors
from Kaiapoi-Woodend Ward
Oxford-Ohoka Community Board
6 members + 2 councillors
from Oxford-Ohoka Ward
Rangiora-Ashley Community Board
8 members + 4 councillors
from Rangiora-Ashley Ward
Local authority elections take place every three years on the second Saturday in October, via postal voting.
As an agricultural journalist, I’m big on clear communication and strong representation.
For me, representation means speaking on behalf of individuals and organisations in your community, to act in their best interests, make decisions that consider the needs of both current and future generations.
It is about fostering a culture of inclusion and belonging and ensuring all voices are heard.
‘There are 78 councils across the country working every day to make sure the communities they represent run smoothly and efficiently.
Local government is not all about bureaucracy and politics – there are thousands of people across New Zealand working within local government to ensure that their communities are the best they can possibly be. From your local librarians, building inspectors and swimming pool lifeguards to the Chief Executive, everyone working in the councils are focused on making sure their area is a great place to live, play and visit.
Councils provide a huge range of services to the communities they serve – from the basics of maintaining efficient infrastructure for our roads and water pipes; planning for the future and providing facilities to promote and improve community well being.
How local government affects you
Local government operations affect you every day; and you may not even be aware of it.
There are many aspects of your daily life that wouldn’t be able to function without the work of local government staff. From the moment you wake up and brush your teeth, have a shower and flush the toilet. Taking the bus to work or school, paying for your parking and having your rubbish collected from the side of the street each week.
None of those things could happen without your council – and the staff working within them.
Promotes community well-being
Councils are closely involved in promoting community well-being through arts, community and recreation services. Your council maintains public libraries, parks, public swimming pools, sports grounds and museums. Your council also looks after youth development, community relationships, business development, and holds events that encourage community participation.
Makes sure everything works
Water comes in, and it goes out. The roads are maintained, bus services organised, and the rubbish removed. All those things you don’t notice until they don’t happen! Planning, developing and maintaining local infrastructure is a major aspect of council work.
Plans for the future
Councils are responsible for facilitating ongoing growth of your district or city especially in areas such as transport, resource management, bylaw making, urban design, community and social, financial planning, and economic development. Councils liaise with key community groups, conduct effective consultations and monitors and implement these policies and plans effectively.
Looks after the environment
Weeds, chemical spills, rescuing native species, cleaning up the air or plotting where everything actually is. Everything has an environmental impact and your council is often the referee. Regional councils, in particular, must manage the demands of industry (for instance farming), and of those who want to keep our environment untouched.
Serves the community
Your council ensures that consistent standards are in place to keep people safe and secure. They keep you safe from dodgy food, ensure that you don’t get constant gridlock in the cities, or that ships berth at wharves and not on reefs. Councils apply a vast number of rules and regulations that central government has decreed, and many arise from the expressed wishes of their community.
Able and strong management ensures that strategies and structures are in place for your council to achieve the vision for your community. They have people who look after operational performance, implement solutions to make the organisation achieve its outcomes and provide structures and systems in place to better serve the community’.