Dunfermline Press readers sent in their questions to candidates. Here’s what Zara said…
Q1. Tell us, in no more than 25 words, why you are the best person to represent Dunfermline in the Scottish Parliament?
I bring fresh thinking, passion and dynamism, ensuring people and place have strong values based representation, working with the community for positive change.
Q2. What support and motions will your party put in place for victims of domestic abuse (regardless of gender) who come forward and report to police, always at their own risk of the defendant being found ‘not guilty’, often with evidence to the contrary.
Bill Walker’s case has shown up a clear flaw with the way our criminal justice system deals with domestic abuse. A long record of violent abuse and bullying should never again be tried and sentenced as a minor offence.
It’s now time to tackle violence in our society. In other countries, a catalogue of domestic abuse would be treated as a whole, and sentences are tougher as a result.
Greens will work to change the law here in Scotland to ensure domestic abuse is treated as seriously as it deserves.
Q3. What promises to making things happen are you going to keep?
I promise to continue to connect vision, and action to values. I promise to listen, and to work with the people and communities of Dunfermline. I will work in partnership to ensure the best possible outcomes for people and place. I will work to help create a fairer, greener, more prosperous Dunfermline and Scotland. I promise not to make any promises I cannot keep!
Q4. What can you do about increasing council houses?
I would start by moving funding from road-building to house-building. The SNP have in recent years spent as much as three times more on roads as housing and it is clear for everyone to see the housing crisis we face, particularly after the introduction of the bedroom tax.
Q5. Would any of the candidates be willing to take on Fife Council/NHS – whoever – and give us back Queen Margaret Hospital?
Yes. I will work to ensure that all health services meet the needs of the people of Dunfermline, making them as easy to access as possible, ensuring I listening to people’s concerns, and take necessary action. Greens will fight to keep local services open against the trend towards merging and centralising public services.
Q6. What are your views/objectives on improving Dunfermline town centre?
Improving infrastructure and transport are key to improving the town. Pubic transport, with vastly improved rail links to the town, better buses, and improved infrastructure for walking and cycling will bring a much needed boost to the town centre, putting Dunfermline on its rightful place on Scotland map. I will also work with traders to ensure rates are affordable, and support local, sustainable trade and enterprise.
Q7. Following the Carnegie College merger, what in your view is the best location in Dunfermline for the new college?
Bringing the college in to the heart of the city centre provides a springboard for town centre regeneration, and paves the way for a renewed vibrancy, boosting the local economy. With improved transport and affordable city centre accommodation for students, locating the college in the heart of the town centre will bring many noticeable benefits.
Q8. If elected what would you do as Dunfermline MSP on the proposal to close three West Fife primary schools?
Communities should never be left without their own school and these proposals are a prime example of exactly that. Councils are being forced into difficult situations by budget cuts passed down from Westminster through Holyrood and this is compounded by the Council Tax freeze and a lack of powers at council level. The decision to close schools has been taken by Fife Council but if elected to Parliament I will push for councils to be allowed more revenue raising powers, giving them more options and making cuts to services less likely.
Q9. A key concern in the present climate is Trust. Can each candidate give an example of how they have demonstrated trustworthiness?
I am open and transparent about who I am, what I believe in, and the causes I passionately fight for. I am involved in various social enterprises, and groups, given positions if trust in each. I would say my recent experience of supporting a friend to care for her father during the last months of his life demonstrated my trustworthiness, humility, and caring attitude towards people.
Q10. Away from politics. What three items would you take to a desert island?
My dog, Amelia. Shes brilliant fun!
My Ukulele (plenty time to improve my playing!)
My Art Box