Getting democratic in the Carterton Events Centre on Thursday were deputy electoral officer Casey Spencer, would-be councillors Rob Stockley and Robyn Cherry-Campbell, present councillors Brian Deller and Greg Lang, future candidate Ash Walker, and councillor Ruth Carter. PHOTO/STEVE RENDLE

STEVE RENDLE
steve.rendle@age.co.nz

Believe it or not, potential candidates were lining up at Carterton Events Centre before the doors even opened on Thursday for the first information sessions ahead of this year’s local body elections.

When the Times-Age visited they were out-numbered by elected members and council officers, but there was certainly a whiff of democracy in the air.

All district councils in the region are running events to encourage people to stand for council – nominations open on July 19 and close on 16 August – and campaigns will also be run to encourage residents to register and vote.

Rob Stockley and Ash Walker were happy to make it known they would be putting their hats in the ring.

Electrician Rob Stockley runs his own business and moved to the area from Hawke’s Bay in mid-2017, with his wife and two daughters.

The family are delighted with what they’ve found.

“It’s a wonderful community, full of kind and generous people,” Stockley said.

He described the contribution others make to the community as “very humbling”.

Standing for election was “an opportunity to do the same”, he says.

“We want to give back as a family. People our age [he’s 45] are under-represented on the council.”

Stockley said the information session confirmed his research about the job had been accurate.

“I’ve been looking in the right place … I’ve been doing my homework.

“I have the time and the passion.”

The ability to contribute time was also a factor for Walker, who runs the Thrive lodge and adventure centre in the Waiohine Gorge.

“Because I run my own business, it allows me the time to do this,” he said.

Also 45, Walker has looked at volunteer work but believes that council work will suit him.

“Being on council would give me a more regimented way of applying my skills,” he said.

“It’s an opportunity to see that decision-making is good for the whole not just the few.”

Walker said he’s checked out a few council meetings from the back of the room, and believes he knows what he’s in for if elected.

“It’s not going to be a big surprise.”

The South Wairarapa District Council will also be running a candidate information session on Wednesday, July 10, at Martinborough’s Wahinga Centre from 7pm.

Masterton District Council has also scheduled a candidate information session for July 30.

There will also be a further information session with Carterton’s electoral officer, Warwick Lampp, on August 7 at Carterton Events Centre.

Postal voting packs will be mailed out to registered voters from September 20, but the last day to register to vote is October 11. Voting closes at noon on October 12.