Doyle launches campaign with attack on Houwers

Launches campaign with attack on rates rebel

JO MOIR
Last updated 05:00 23/05/2012
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HAVING A GO: Reuben Doyle, a real estate agent who is officially putting his hand up for a New Plymouth District Council seat in next year's election.
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Council wannabe Reuben Doyle is backing progress over rate cuts and disagrees with rates-rise hater Len Houwers. Who's right?

Doyle - New Plymouth can't go backwards

Houwers - it's about core services, not wants

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A New Plymouth real estate agent has joined the local election race and took a swing at the city's rates rebel in the process.

In a speech to Pukekura Toastmasters last week, Reuben Doyle, 30, of TSB Realty, formally threw his hat in the ring to be a New Plymouth district councillor next year.

His campaign launch drew contrasts with rate-rise hater Len Houwers and his desire to keep rates down by concentrating on core services.

An adamant Mr Doyle says keeping rates on par or below inflation increases will only cause job losses further down the line and take New Plymouth back a few decades.

"Can I suggest that [Len Houwers'] vision is taking New Plymouth back 30 years to the ignorant community I grew up in where we could not see the sea through the industrial wasteland that blighted our foreshore," Mr Doyle said in his campaign speech.

"And the biggest thing that happened all summer was Hello Sailor playing at the Breakwater Tavern."

He criticised the online survey conducted by Mr Houwers that 1300 ratepayers responded to saying they weren't happy with the prospect of rate rises.

"No other council in New Zealand can keep rate rises below inflation, so why should New Plymouth be a miracle model?"

Mr Doyle admitted to the Taranaki Daily News yesterday that he wasn't currently a ratepayer, but boasted at one point he would have been the youngest in New Plymouth at the age of 18.

The council hopeful was looking for a continuation of the progress of the past decade which he largely attributed to former mayor Peter Tennent.

"I want to see everything that is laid out in the long-term plan as a good starting point rather than shutting down the town like Len is proposing," he said.

"He wants to turn off the lights."

Mr Doyle tried contacting Mr Houwers to invite him to Toastmasters but was unsuccessful.

He did email Mr Houwers with a copy of his speech before he delivered it, saying he wasn't one to talk about people behind their backs.

Yesterday Mr Houwers responded to him saying he had misunderstood his argument.

"It seems to be Reuben's assertion that if the council doesn't fund new assets, no-one else will," he said.

"I think he might be surprised what the community could achieve on its own to provide other assets without council or ratepayer help."

Mr Houwers cited Waitara raising money for a sports complex, the Velodrome Trust and the Bell Block Community pool as examples of the public raising money for a worthy cause.

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"I think he's oversimplifying it to put me in the camp of rubbish and roads only," he said.

Mr Doyle doesn't see his public attack of Mr Houwers as controversial.

"It's not controversial. I'm just being me.

"I'm just trying to challenge ideas and create good, robust and healthy debate."

Reluctant to back himself, Mr Doyle said it would be a hard task to get elected next year.

"But I'm going to give it a good crack," he said.

Another New Plymouth candidate, who has formally announced his intentions to run for council next year through social media site, Facebook, is investment adviser Murray Chong.

- Taranaki Daily News

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