By-election candidates have say
The nine candidates for the vacant seat on the Invercargill City Council gave voters a taste of their views at a public meeting last night.
The Southland National Council of Women hosted the meeting, with each of the nine candidates speaking for three minutes at the Windsor Community Church before answering questions. These were some of their key points.
Rebecca Amundsen: Ms Amundsen said said she wanted to do more of what she was already doing in Glengarry where she had helped start the market and been a member of the Glengarry revitalisation community project.
"I want to see more of what's happening in Glengarry happen in the rest of Invercargill."
She wanted people to help in their communities and the council to look to their communities for direction.
Hunter Andrews: Mr Andrews said if elected his big focus would be on the inner city. The council had to identify unsafe buildings in the city centre and deal to the problem and it had to prevent building owners from walking away from buildings which were earthquake-prone, he said.
Allan Arnold: Mr Arnold said he had started about 17 businesses in Invercargill over the years and he knew how tough the economic climate was now so the council had to be prudent with its money. The council needed to see if it could manage its core services better, he said. "They need to look at the big capital developments they have got planned, now's not the time to be investing in those things."
Karen Arnold: Ms Arnold said as a former journalist who covered the city council round she knew the inner workings of the council and she had come to the conclusion that the role of a city councillor was not for the naive because in local government wheels turned very slowly. A lot of the "important stuff" happened in secret and decisions were made by a select few. She had exposed an underbelly of the council which encouraged arrogant self-serving bullies and if she was elected she would stand up to them, she said. "We need to get rid of that old boy culture because it's really dangerous."
Steve Broad: Mr Broad said the council needed a voice for the younger generation in the city and he would be that voice if elected. "This will allow this council to better represent this community," he said. There was a lack of community engagement in Invercargill and the city council needed to reconnect with its community, he said.
Debbie Jamieson: Ms Jamieson was not at the meeting because of illness, but her words were read out by another person. She said she had a desire to see new businesses introduced to Invercargill and she would support local businesses and groups. Invercargill needed a mall where people could congregate in a warm and dry place, she said. Some suburbs needed more attention and the council needed to act more like a private business, she said.
Carl Heenan: Mr Heenan said he wanted Southland to have one super council. He did not believe Mayor Tim Shadbolt should have control over who got what jobs, he wanted residents to have a direct dial to dog control officers so residents could get an urgent response to their problems and he wanted Stadium Southland to have multiple roles, including being used as a base for emergencies.
Charlie Te Au: Mr Te Au said he wanted the council to be more transparent to the public and one of the ways it could achieve this was by having its meetings streamed live on the internet so residents could see what decisions were made and how councillors interacted.
Lindsay Thomas: Mr Thomas said his platform for standing was to counter the ever-increasing rates which ratepayers had to fork out each year. He wanted rates to increase only by the rate of inflation." Currently council staff produced a wish-list for projects which was too high, he said. "We need to say to council staff, there's your budget, manage it and get on with it," Mr Thomas said.
The city council by-election, which is being held following the resignation of Cr Jackie Kruger, will be decided by postal vote. The votes will be counted on August 29.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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