Tourism, the environment and the proposed medical centre got the audience chattering at a "good-natured" meet-the-candidates event in Twizel.
About 60 people attended the meeting in the Twizel Events Centre on Thursday evening.
The two Mackenzie District mayoral contenders, four Pukaki council ward candidates, and five community board candidates each gave a speech, and answered audience questions.
Twizel resident Kevin Moore, who edits the local newsletter, said there was much focus on tourism.
"Mayoral candidate Graeme Page raised his proposed ‘bed tax' idea again. He stressed it was ‘only a proposal', but some of the tourism operators were not best pleased with the suggestion."
Mr Page has suggested tourists could pay an extra dollar on their accommodation bills. The extra money would fund promotion and associated tourism infrastructure as well as alleviate some of the ratepayers' burden.
Mr Moore said Mayor Claire Barlow, running for re-election, stressed her job was about "seeing the bigger picture" and "this was also the job of all those elected members to the council table".
"She's more about communication. They're two quite different candidates, but they're both strong in their own ways," he said.
Mr Moore said the Pukaki ward would be an interesting battle, as only one of the four candidates standing for the three positions had previous council experience.
"All four spoke well but, perhaps understandably, the present councillor, Annette Money, came in for the most questioning from the floor. They asked her position on issues the council has struggled with this term, particularly the Twizel medical centre," Mr Moore said.
The other three candidates were Russell Armstrong, James Leslie and Murray Cox. Mr Cox is Tekapo Community Board chairman.
Mr Moore said there was also debate on whether the Mackenzie's unique environment could sustain intensified farming.
However, he said most of the candidates believed a balanced district plan would help deal with the pressures and opportunities.
"Overall, it was a good-natured event," Mr Moore said.
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