Waimate candidates square off
Roading, rates and fiscal responsibility were on the agenda when Waimate candidates squared off last night.
A few hundred people were seated in the Regent Theatre when Waimate Lions rang the bell at 7.30. Council candidates were given four minutes, and mayoral hopefuls Sharyn Cain and Craig Rowley, eight minutes.
Candidates Stuart Thomson and Morgan Wallace were absent and sent apologies.
Names were pulled out of a hat and Peter Collins was quick to raise economic challenges.
''Waimate has some challenges ahead with balancing of the books. I believe some policies are encouraging people to move to urban centres.''
Pareora ward candidate Tom O'Connor said the council had got itself into ''a bit of a jam''.
''It seems to have staggered over the last seven years. We've got an opportunity with the councillors standing down; we haven't got time for fantasies.''
Arthur Gavegan said roading maintenance accounted for 28 per cent of rates income.
''I don't think we are getting value for money there.''
He said tourism could be Waimate's ''Midas touch''.
Current deputy mayor Peter McIlraith said he had ruffled a few feathers.
''My policy is that council should not be in business that private enterprise can run.''
Hakataramea candidate John Wall said the council was split and the debacle had been played out through the media.
''We need to resolve it in a positive way and not undermine each other; I'm a proud Waimo.''
John Larcombe said the council should maintain service in-house.
David Owen said he was ''peeved off'' with the mess council had got itself into and believed it would become part of another council if it didn't get its act together.
Sharyn Cain, who is running for a council and mayoral seat, was put on the spot when she spoke for the allotted four minutes, then had to speak for another eight minutes after a 30 second break.
She said she brought a new perspective from a different sector and had tried to create new interest in the public forum.
''Our town has a lot to be proud of; I want to stay part of the process and solution. I'm easily accessible, actively involved and well-informed.''
Craig Rowley said he believed it was a very exciting time for Waimate with a large turnover of councillors.
''Waimate has a bright future and can be prosperous with the right leadership. There has been a lot of emphasis of disarray; this is not the case.
''We need to work together as a team; council needs to be transparent. Above all, we need to make prudent decisions.''
- © Fairfax NZ News