Election issues run hot in districts
Local Elections 2013
With local body elections imminent, we assesses the key issues in the Hurunui, Selwyn and Waimakariri districts.
Hurunui residents are feeling the effects of government cuts to the council's roading funds.
Many in the vast district are worried only roads that are mainly used for tourists will be maintained, graded and sealed, while their local access roads will not.
The other main concern is how small towns and settlements can retain their identities, while developing to meet the growing population.
Of Hurunui's five wards, two only are being contested.
Cheviot's sitting councillor, Vincent Daly, will retain his seat for a fourth term, while in Glenmark, Russell Black's daughter Fiona Harris will take his spot uncontested.
In Amberley, Gary Cooper and Judith McKendry will retain their spots for their second terms around the council table. Fellow Amberley councillor Ross Little is stepping down and will be replaced by Julie Coster, who was a councillor from 2007-10.
Key issues: Roading is causing major problems in the area with not a lot of money to fix and maintain local access and back roads in what is a sparse farming area. With more money expected to be poured into "significant" roads, such as state highways or ones en route to particular tourist spots, residents fear their roads will not be maintained. Roads are the lifeblood of the area, with dairy tankers and trucks on them constantly to ensure farmers get their produce out. Residents predict these roads will only become busier with more people moving into the area. The implications of the Resource Management Act and Environment Canterbury's water zone committees will also help shape the way farms operate in the future.
Popular attraction: Mt Lyford ski fields and a large part of the Alpine Pacific Triangle runs through it.
Who are the councillors? Marie Black, Jim Harre and Dick Davison.
The election contest: The three sitting councillors are likely to be re-elected for their second terms. Their only challenger is Amuri Community Ward committee member David Orpwood.
Key issues: As this alpine town's popularity continues to grow, residents want Hanmer Springs to be taken into the 21st Century while retaining its identity. There is ongoing tension between local residents, holiday homeowners, the farming community and visitors on how to balance all their different wants and needs. As one resident says, they want to feel like they are living in a small community and not be completely overtaken by visitors. However, they also rely heavily on tourists to pump money into the local economy. Locals want the council to invest in infrastructure, such as wastewater treatment and roading, to ensure the town can handle the influx of visitors. Some say this investment will increase rates. Plans are in place to upgrade parts of the hot pools to ensure it keeps its iconic status as a tourist destination.
Popular attraction: Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools
Who's the councillor? Deputy Mayor Michael Malthus is standing down after nine years, but is seeking election to the community board.
The election contest: Hanmer Springs Community Board chairman Jason Fletcher is up against Janice Clyma. Both Clyma and Fletcher are business operators who want to see Hanmer Springs developed and brought into the 21st century.
The district has been plagued by water quality issues in the past year that have led to some residents having to boil their drinking water as a precaution. The council has been asking communities whether they were willing to improve their water supplies or risk more contamination and boil-water notices, with Malvern one of the top priority areas.
Nigel Barnett and Pat McEvedy will represent Ellesmere for their third and second terms respectively. In the Springs ward, long-standing councillors Debra Hasson and Malcolm Lyall retain their seats, but will be joined by newcomer Grant Miller, who takes over from outgoing three-term councillor Lindsay Philps.
Key issues: The subdividing of prime farmland for lifestyle blocks is causing concern with some locals, who worry that allowing too much is taking away potential income streams for the local economy. Roading again raises its head as a major issue in this vast ward, with government funding being cut. Likewise, trees alongside roadsides that are outside farm boundaries are costing the area millions of dollars. Some hope the council, and farmers, will cut the tops off so there is no risk of the trees damaging the powerlines in high winds and to stop them creating potential dangerous shade on the road.
Popular attraction: An outdoor lover's paradise with great fishing rivers, ski fields, walks and golf courses.
Who are the councillors? John "Jum" Morten and Sam Broughton.
The election contest: Morten, a farmer and three-term councillor, leads the pack. Broughton is eyeing up the Mayor's seat while also seeking a second term representing Malvern, which could potentially leave the second spot open for former mayor and ex-councillor Bill Woods, or fellow ex-councillor and current community board member Bob Mugford.
Key issues: Selwyn's population is increasing rapidly causing a lot of planning headaches. The booming area will have to ensure its infrastructure, roading, transport and basic services all align with its increasing population. Likewise, some residents wonder how the council will develop Rolleston's town centre and the push is on for a high school in the area.
Popular attraction: New Zealand's largest business park - Izone - is based in Rolleston. It is now the base for companies like Westland Dairy, Canterbury Rural Traders, PGG Wrightson and Pegasus Engineering.
Who are the councillors? Deputy Mayor Sarah Walters, Jeff Bland, Peter Hill and Mark Alexander.
The election contest: The four incumbents, who are all first-term councillors except for Walters, have strong competition from community board member Sandy Williams but local resident Lynley Shaw should not be written off as she has been involved in a lot of community groups. Walters is also running for mayor. WAIMAKARIRI The district has been steadily growing for years but the earthquakes took their toll, with about 1000 houses red-zoned. Increased development in the area is leading to several challenges, including ensuring sufficient land is zoned for residential and commercial development and that infrastructure, recreation and community services are in place. Residents want their buildings, roads and bridges fixed. The booming district's vast expanse means the council will have to carefully balance the wants and needs of the smaller settlements with those of the larger towns and new subdivisions.
Key issues: The earthquakes have affected this area badly and locals are frustrated. Residents want the council to ensure High St becomes a two-way road, to fix their damaged buildings, such as Farmers, and to give more support to local businesses to help create a vibrant central business district. Healthcare is another major issue in Rangiora with the community looking forward to the proposed Canterbury District Health Board health hub but wanting it sooner rather than later and to include a paramedic after hours.
Popular attraction: Victoria Park
Who are the councillors? Peter Allen, Robbie Brine and Jim Gerard.
The election contest: By far the largest and most varied election competition in the district. Nine people are standing for three positions. The incumbent's main competition is from community board chairman Murray Clarke. However, Nigel Lavender, Michelle Nelson, community board member Angela Smalley, Llew Timpson and former MP John Wright should not be written off. All of the candidates are passionate about improving Rangiora and will fight hard for their spots.
Key issues: Earthquake issues dominate this ward. Residents want the council to repair earthquake-damaged facilities and infrastructure. Several are still hurting with some residential red-zoned residents still wrangling with insurance companies and the Government. Many in the ward just want some sense of normality, which is what fixing facilities and infrastructure would provide. Meanwhile, the booming population is also putting pressure on the council to plan carefully. As one resident says, "We don't want to end up playing catch up".
Popular attraction: The Kaiapoi River.
Who are the councillors? Neville Atkinson, Roger Blair (standing down) and John Meyer.
The election contest: There are six people vying for three spots. Atkinson and Meyer, who have both served two terms, are being challenged by ex-councillor Sandra Stewart, community board member Caroline Faass, Natalie Leary and Maurice Nutira. They all have a range of skills, backgrounds and community involvement.
Key issues: Fixing earthquake-damaged council assets, such as the Oxford Town Hall and service centre, will be the main priority for this ward. However, doing this at a reasonable or little cost to the ratepayer could be tricky. The other major issue is upgrading rural water supplies to ensure they meet drinking water standards, with several areas often having to boil water to ensure it is safe to drink.
Popular attraction: Ashley River Gorge.
Who are the councillors? Deputy Mayor Kevin Felstead and Dan Gordon.
The election contest: Both incumbents have serious competition from former Hurunui District councillor Wendy Doody. Felstead and Gordon are both heavily involved in the community
and well known, while Doody relocated back to Oxford about four years ago. This ward has three very strong candidates with a raft of local body experience between them. One to watch.
Key issues: Balancing the disparity of interests across this ward is a challenge for the council with different areas wanting their roads graded, while others want more shopping centres. Building a new Ashley River bridge will be vital as many residents are being diverted several kilometres when it can't be used. There's also some tension because those north of the Ashley River are on the water scheme run by the Hurunui District Council, which raises several questions around changing this scheme, funding or whether an amalgamation of this area needs to happen.
Popular attraction: Pegasus town.
Who are the councillors? Kirstyn Barnett and Peter Farrant.
The election contest: Four-term councillor Farrant appears to be the front runner. First-term councillor Barnett has proven herself during the past three years, while Colin Perrior is seeking election for the first time to try to stop rate increases.
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