Young candidate wins anti-drug pledge
Would-be Marlborough District councillor Aaron Goodwin had his first win of the campaign last night - getting all 18 other Blenheim ward candidates to commit to a hard line against synthetic cannabis sales in Marlborough after the election.
Mr Goodwin, the youngest candidate at 21, used his opening and closing statements at a public forum of all Blenheim ward candidates to get the others to support his stance against synthetic cannabis.
He said he had made mistakes in his life but he wanted to help other young people to avoid making those same mistakes.
At the end of the meeting, all the other candidates stood to show their support for measures he suggested, such as a ban on selling any legal highs within a kilometre of a school.
He said afterwards he had promised a friend to get a commitment from candidates on the issue.
"No matter how this election ends for me, I'm glad I got to do it."
There are 19 candidates competing for seven ward seats, and all of them spoke at a public meeting attended by about 150 people at the Elim Centre in Blenheim.
Mayoral candidate and Blenheim ward councillor Jamie Arbuckle had also proposed zero tolerance for legal highs in Marlborough.
The main theme of speeches was the need for teamwork, trust in the council, better use of resources and cutting spending.
Councillor Jessica Bagge called strongly for a change, arguing the district needed a new mayor and a new team around the table.
New candidate Keith Buck asked if people in the audience would trust candidates with their eftpos cards.
"Because that's what you're doing with your voting form . . . you're choosing seven of us to use your money."
New candidate Brian Dawson, who is also standing for mayor, said Marlborough needed change and mayor Alistair Sowman needed to go.
The solutions for Marlborough were not big buildings or $160,000 bus stops, or colour palettes for rural houses, but population growth so that the rates burden was spread over more people.
However, deputy mayor Jenny Andrews said one person could not achieve change on their own at the council table. That took a good team and a good leader.
There were many visions talked about at meetings like last night's, Mrs Andrews said, but not all were possible.
Incumbents Terry Sloan and Graeme Taylor used sporting images from their respective football and rugby backgrounds, saying they were team players who were working for the betterment of the province.
Mr Sloan said the council table was majority rules - people made their case, the votes were taken and sometimes people lost, but being part of a team meant continuing to work together for Marlborough. "That's democracy."
Most new candidates called for a tighter grip on council spending, saying ratepayers could not afford to pay an increase every year.
Some argued rather than grow Marlborough, things just needed to be done better, with more working together with the community or to maintain the things that made Marlborough special.
The next forum is at the Renwick Memorial Hall at 7.30 tonight.
- The Marlborough Express