Amanda Clinton-Gohdes has found juggling life as a first-time mother and district councilor rewarding.
Two of Taranaki’s first term councilors are encouraging other mothers to stand at the upcoming local body elections to create more diversity among elected members.
As the deadline for nominations draws to a close, first time mother and New Plymouth District Councilor Amanda Clinton-Gohdes has spoken out about the roles being compatible.
She’s backed up by Taranaki Regional Councilor Elvisa van der Leden, who was expecting her first child while also standing for a second term.
Although the demographic of local councils was viewed as containing more elected members near the back end of their working lives than those embarking on them, the pair said modern views meant it was now entirely acceptable to have young children within the confines of council chambers.
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That was never more evident than at the recently completed Local Government New Zealand conference where a number of councilors were accompanied by their babies. There was even a specific whānau room set up to cater for young families.
In 2019, the national policy around childcare allowances changed and many councils, including NPDC and TRC, established a childcare allowance to support and encourage more parents of young children to take on the role.
Clinton-Gohdes said the childcare allowance made a real difference to being able to juggle the responsibilities of being a parent and a community representative.
“The only complaint from my colleagues is that they don’t see Francis [her son] enough,” she said.
Van der Leden said she had also received widespread support about continuing as an elected member since she announced her pregnancy.
“Having a baby on mum’s lap reminds us all who our decisions will ultimately impact the most.”
Nominations close at 12 noon on Friday August 12.