The man who has been both Gosford mayor and Member for Gosford, Mr Chris Holstein, will stand as an independent in the Gosford West Ward for Central Coast Council.
Since his narrow loss in the 2014 NSW Government election, Mr Holstein said he had been working with a range of not-forprofi t organisations dealing with youth, disabilities, homelessness, domestic violence and transport. “I believe that I can bring to the new Council a wealth of experience, knowledge and common sense for what will be a diffi cult transitioning time,” Mr Holstein said. “The Central Coast is approaching a crucial time in its history,” he said. “It is a time that this community needs to ensure that opportunities are not lost, and that both Federal and State Governments give full recognition and support to the Central Coast. “The amalgamation of the Gosford and Wyong Councils places the Central Coast as a defi nable region, with a larger population than the Northern Territory and covering an area greater than the Australian Capital Territory, a region that demands its fair share of resources and Government support,” he said. “This is an opportunity to attract, and expect a greater slice of, government funding from both Federal and State Governments for this region,” he said. Mr Holstein said he believed the new councillors “must have common sense and be able to traverse the party political divide.” He said that during his service as mayor and Gosford councillor, he was heavily involved with key projects including the surf club rebuilding program, Peninsula Leisure Centre and key environmental initiatives like the Coastal Open Space Scheme and three-bin waste collection services. “As an independent councillor, with my knowledge and experience I believe that I can contribute to the enhancement of the Central Coast Region,” he said. “Much debate has come over the council amalgamations, and no doubt there will be those wanting to unscramble the egg, but that is an argument for the political parties at the next state election, not this council election. “Politics are for the parties, council is for the community. “Any political hijacking will just extend the limbo for the community of not having effective representation. “So let’s ensure that we make the most of it and elect a decisive council working together for all who call the Central Coast home,” he said. It has been over fi ve years since Mr Holstein last sat on Gosford Council, where he spent six terms as mayor. “I think I hold the record for longest-serving mayor,” he said. Mr Holstein then joined the Liberal party and was elected as the Member for Gosford. He spent four years in the NSW Parliament from 2011 to 2015, at which time the actions of his colleagues resulted in the Liberal party losing three Central Coast seats, including Gosford. “I was affectionately known in the Liberal party as collateral damage,” he said of his narrow defeat by Labor’s Kath Smith, who passed away earlier this year. “The decision to leave the party was within 12 months of me having lost the seat,” he said. “I was getting concerned with the factionalisation. “Certain projects weren’t being committed to and things were moving slowly,” he said. “The party said ‘Chris, bugger off, you’re yesterday’s man’. “I could have given them my experience and guidance, but it was not needed, they didn’t want it. “I believe that what I can bring to this new mega council is life experience, knowledge and a common sense approach. “I think it is great that we are going to have a whole heap of new blood come on to council, but we are going to need some experience and knowledge. “I am only 57 years old, I move a bit slower but there is still an opportunity for me to do a bit more.” Mr Holstein said he had no ambition to go back to party politics or sit for a seat in State Parliament again. “It will be an exciting time for Council if the model, which I have some doubts about, as fi ve wards, can work cohesively together.” Mr Holstein said he believed every Central Coast resident should be able to vote for all 15 councillors, not just the three in their ward. “The ward will give representation in an area, but as a councillor, you have to represent and take responsibility for the whole city. “I will represent Gosford West as my primary focus, but I will have to make decisions for the entire Central Coast.” Since leaving politics Mr Holstein has been working in the community sector for a range of entities. “They were things I was very passionate about,” he said. As for his association with Mr John Singleton, he said: “Yes I know John Singleton, that doesn’t make me a developer. “I have a lot of time for John Singleton, but he is a banned donor. “I do not work for John Singleton and I have run 10 election campaigns and never had my returns questions. “I went through the last farcical situation of all my colleagues around me being in ICAC and where was Holstein?” he said. Of those who questioned his relationship with Mr Singleton, he said: “They can get stuffed, those who want to question it have their own political aspirations. Mr Holstein said, if elected, he had a lot of questions he would want answered about the management of the new Council before he took a position on any particular issues. “I thought I knew what was happening in my community, now I think I have a much broader understanding of community.”
SOURCE: Media release, 25 Jul 2017 Interview, 25 Jul 2017 Chris Holstein, Narara Reporter: Jackie Pearson