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Candidates answer key questions

Hefty bills have shocked some ratepayers. PHOTOS/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

SWDC Community board

Local Democracy Reporter EMILY IRELAND got candid with the candidates.

What is one thing you want voters to know about you?

Featherston

John Dennison

My association with The Opportunities Party. I have been told that I am the only candidate in Wairarapa to declare a political affiliation. I didn’t think that, in all honesty, I could perform the role of a community board member advocating for
Featherston and scrutinising council decisions without revealing my association with The Opportunities Party.

Greytown

Warren Woodgyer

I’m a strong believer in value for money, coupled with transparency. Rate money collected in Greytown needs to be spent on the essential services in Greytown by SWDC. Who in their right mind hands over a large sum of money and says do what you wish with it. I see it being spent on needs, not wants.

Martinborough

Karen Krogh

I am an intelligent and resourceful person, and if I want to know something, I don’t give up easily. It is the people of our town who matter and who will determine our future.

Storm Robertson

The one thing I would want the community to know about me is that I am standing for the board to give something back to the community.

I have a strong desire to make a difference.

Residents want to be heard.
What is the biggest challenge facing your town and how will you work to address this as an elected representative?

Featherston

John Dennison

The people of Featherston feel that they have been treated poorly by the council in comparison to the other towns in South Wairarapa. This, together with the mishandling of an unprecedented rate rise in 2020-21 has led to a low confidence in the governance and administration of SWDC by our township.

Greytown

Warren Woodgyer

The lack of interest in the Greytown Community Board. This is the second election cycle in which there is a by-election for a fourth member. By co-opting a representative from Greytown groups to have input, ie Papawai Marae, Greytown Sports and Leisure, Business house, Rural and others, we can appeal to a wider audience through their involvement in the GCB.

Martinborough

Karen Krogh

For all the talk of wanting engagement and transparency on the part of the SWDC members and mayor it seems fundamental to allow the few people motivated enough to attend a meeting to be acknowledged better. There are obvious time constraints but I believe there are ways to manage this.

Storm Robertson

The challenge for Martinborough and its residents is getting its voice heard by the council. They should always know what the majority opinion of residents is, and my actions will be putting together a clear process for such two-way communication.

What initiative would you like to facilitate?

Featherston

John Dennison

Featherston has seen a lot of change in recent years. Not all for the better by any means and it’s time for us to start looking at addressing the issue of affordable housing for locals with some imaginative solutions. Whether elected or not, is my intention to push the council to look at addressing this particular issue.

Greytown

Warren Woodgyer

Become more active in undertaking the duties of a community board in accordance with the roles of community boards as laid out in the LGNZ Act 2002, sections 49-54. In doing this I believe we will be more independent and able to better convey our concerns to SWDC.

Martinborough

Karen Krogh

If members of the public are motivated enough to come to a MCB meeting and speak to it I will always try to ask them at least one question to show that their input is being listened to, as I have spoken at times and felt that the brick walls in the ‘Supper Room’ were just as responsive as the board and/or council.

Storm Robertson

The initiative to get the two-way voice process under way and ensure that is functional and adaptive to meet the needs of both council and residents.

If you could overturn one past governance decision, what would it be?

Featherston

John Dennison

The councillors decided upon the 2020-21 rate increase without knowing the correct percentage rise and true financial impact it was going to have upon households. I would revisit this decision using the correct information at that time. Surely, we would have a different outcome.

Greytown

Warren Woodgyer

A booklet titled standing orders. They say it’s an 1835 time warp. Ratepayers from that era would completely understand today’s administration of meetings. There are statutes which must be followed but many there frustrate and anger ratepayers. The worst in my opinion is the constraint put on speakers, three minutes plus two minutes for questions.

Martinborough

Karen Krogh

More effective communication is wanted.

I’m not interested in revisiting past mistakes of which there are many. I want to be forward looking in my focus and energy. To this day however, the most shocking and mistaken action on the part of our council is how the head librarian was hounded out of her job three years or so ago.

Storm Robertson

The rate increase of last year. This was an unrealistic increase and to most residents unjustified. The council should have known this and responded accordingly.

What are your top three priorities?

Featherston

John Dennison

To listen with empathy, to act with integrity and to seek outcomes that are achievable.

Greytown

Warren Woodgyer

Transparency regarding the expenditure of rates in the Greytown Ward. Employing our own staff and providing equipment, like Carterton, to look after mowing, clean gutters, keep footpaths safe. Use our own local contractors and local knowledge to reduce our costs when it comes to drainage and water services.

Martinborough

Karen Krogh

I will continue to insist that proper financial accounts be kept and provided. I had given up from the outside [see above] but I will now try to see if I can have more luck within the system.

Storm Robertson

Get the voice of residents heard. Support the business community to develop opportunities.

Develop the working relationship with the other two community boards.

Responses were only edited for clarity or to reduce word count as specified in instructions to candidates.

Featherston Community Board candidate Roger Bradshaw was unable to be contacted.

Featherston Community Board candidates Mary Byrne, Warren Maxwell, Tui Rutherford, Annelise Schroeder, and Jayson Tahinurua did not respond.

As there were only three candidates for the Greytown Community Board [four vacancies], candidates Louise Brown, Jo Woodcock, and Warren Woodgyer are elected.

As there were only four candidates for the Martinborough Community Board [four vacancies], candidates Angela Brown, Karen Krogh, Mel Maynard, and Storm Robertson are elected.

This is the fifth in a six-part series. Tomorrow: Carterton District Council Candidates – NZLDR

  • Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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