Calls were made for a functional and transparent Waimate District Council when business representatives met candidates last night.
But three candidates, including mayoral hopeful Sharyn Cain, didn't show up.
Cain told The Herald this morning that the meeting was advertised before any participants were asked if they could attend.
She said candidates were only advised one week before the event.
"I put in an apology to the meeting as I had work, which I was unable to change at such short notice."
The 12 candidates who did attend nearly equalled the number in the audience at the Criterion Hotel. The evening was co-ordinated by a new business support group, Business Waimate, with each candidate given two minutes to answer questions: How much time would they dedicate to the job? What's the role of tourism in the district? How about their thoughts on amalgamation, earthquake codes, dirty dairying, the stadium, and an apparent lack of transparency and communication between the council with the public?
Candidates agreed the council had a problem.
Mayoral hopeful Craig Rowley said the information was publicly available but the council had let itself down. Former mayor and Pareora candidate David Owen disagreed.
''All the information is not publicly available; you can't even get a telephone number from the electoral offices," he said. "Let's get real.''
Pareora candidate Tom O'Connor went further and described the council's public relations effort as a disaster.
''There's huge room for improvement; you can't apply a solution until you know what the problem is.''
Hakataramea candidate John Wall said the council went into committee too often.
''They've got problems and it has to stop; it's difficult to work with a council that is divided.''
- © Fairfax NZ News