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Carterton spoilt for choice

By Geoff Vause

 

There was almost a shortage of seats for voters wanting to hear what their council candidates had to say at Carterton this week.

Around 160 people filled the auditorium at the Events Centre for the candidate speakfest organised by Carterton Town & Country Development Group’s John Gordon. Latecomers picked their way through to the few empty seats.

Voters are spoilt for choice with 16 vying for eight seats. Mr Gordon said he had considered a water pistol or cattle prod to let candidates know their seven minutes had expired, but it wasn’t necessary as only one – current councillor Mike Ashby – exceeded the allotted time.

 

Rob Harris

Wairarapa has contributed to transport needs elsewhere for many years, now it’s our turn.

There’s no point worrying about how electrification of rail services might happen when technology will change in ten years – make the decision to do it now and use the technology available when it’s being done.

Families move here and commute. They underpin many things we rely on, including steady demand for housing.

Their offspring support school rolls, sports and youth clubs.  They also balance our greying demographic – which includes me.

 

Leah Wynne

Young people are bored, there is not enough for them to do. My extensive experience with youth will help resolve this.

We need to work alongside young people and give them a voice.

Break-ins at our childcare centre shows the problem. We need to give them something to look forward to and I know how to talk to that age group.

Carterton has many young families and we need to look at our community services and facilities available for them.

 

Jill Greathead

I make things happen that make our community stronger. We need active leadership. The council needs to guide and support its community.

We need to promote our values and our assets. I want to continue taking the council on a creative journey.

We create our values through local wisdom and knowledge, with newcomers bringing fresh inspiration and ideas.

I also want to push the voter campaign to see a return to the 71 per cent turnout we had in 1988 rather than the 46 per cent of 2013.

 

Tracey O’Callaghan

I’m a life coach, running councils is like coaching life skills in people. We need to identify the future we want and the human resource we have.

I have the ability to know when to listen. I give pragmatic support and can wade through bureaucracy. I know how to lobby and advocate to maintain local democracy.

We want smaller government, not bigger. I have not heard a succinct case for merger. The local and regional councils need to work much more closely.

‘Never believe a few caring people can’t change the world . . . that’s all who ever have’.

 

Mike Palmers

The democratic process is essential. Meetings need to be open, with councillors’ ears open and mouths closed. We’re not here to rubberstamp a workshop decision.

We need to create an environment that enables our community to do things and support that. We need to do our homework on issues and options.

I may lose an argument at the table but I will support the council decision. We need clear perceptions of conflicts of interest. If it doesn’t look right in the media it probably isn’t.

We need sustainable land use, smart development and smart economics.

 

Rebecca Vergunst

Council is failing to connect with young people. We need more young people involved. I want to engage with those not represented at present – youth, Maori, renters, non-voters.

We need to improve things that shape our environment. It’s not only big things that count. Swimming in local rivers should not be taken for granted.

We need stronger ties with iwi. I can’t see benefits in amalgamation but I’m open to rational arguments.

We need better collaboration between existing councils.

 

Don Farr

I don’t want to talk about my past, I prefer to talk about obligations and commitments of councillors, about community services.

Amalgamation is a push from central government, it’s big business ideology, expansion and growth. That’s not how local government works. Mergers have failed everywhere.

The cost outweighs the benefits. There is no saving – services cost what they cost. Efficiency is not related to size. The biggest cost comes in human terms and the loss of services.

The recent Local Government Commission survey was a rort. I’m ready for this scrap.

 

Sandra Garret

Amalgamation means being disempowered and disconnected. We have the option now to shape our destiny. We grow and thrive under local leadership. We can empower people with a common vision.

We have a rich diversity in age, skills and knowledge. It needs active community engagement.

We need to showcase the area and its rich history to get people to stop in Carterton. We need cycle tracks to connect with the tourist cycle market, and a strategy to attract small businesses.

We need to encourage young people and mentor them.

 

Mike Osborne

There’s elephants and wombats in the room. The elephant is amalgamation. It leaves a big brown mess. If it happens this meeting will be between two candidates not sixteen. This centre won’t be ours.

It’s a wombat – a waste of money, brains and time. Queensland saw a de-amalgamation. The town dumped it as pointless.

Vote for an anti-amalgamation council. Support those candidates.

We have a long legacy, don’t lose it. Retain Carterton as Carterton.

 

Brian Deller

I am following my forebears into local government service. The district is vibrant and fast-growing.

The strength comes from people who engage and contribute, the coaches, managers, parents and supporters – the volunteers across our community. We need to support community-based groups.

We need to improve the events centre kitchen so it gets more use, we need to improve our waste water plant and clean up our waterways.

I can see some benefits in amalgamation but we need to share services with other councils now. Carterton should force a referendum on the issue. We can’t change the past but we can learn from it.

 

Ruth Carter

I wheel all over the town, and I talk with everyone. Your voice is the most important.

The big issue is amalgamation.

The question is how we make things work for Carterton.

No matter what happens if we all stick together as a town we’ll get the best deal.

 

Greg Lang

Keep it real and make it happen. Council had no economic development focus when I came on board.

I set up a development strategy, the only council with a strategy. We need to get arts grads into empty shops. Make the CBD come alive.

Amalgamation is a challenge. It’s hard to get three councils to work together. There are walls between the towns. We need strong leadership to unite the region.

We need to add value to raw products with a water use strategy.

 

Russell Keys

Amalgamation will be your decision, finally.

I am part of the rural and urban fire services merger, an important amalgamation.

We have good infrastructure in the district and it can get better. We need to get youth more involved with our council.

We need to bring them in early and help them grow.

 

Mike Ashby

We kept housing for our elderly by gifting homes to Carter Court, and we sorted Carterton’s waste water.

Carterton is a thriving community with comparatively low council debts and quality infrastructure and could stand alone successfully.

Wellington does not understand the needs of the Wairarapa.

I see the need for more water storage for both urban and rural with a combination of big dams and small community storage dams.

 

Kathy Bartlett

I stand for an ambitious long term plan, an enhanced civic environment and better community engagement.

Councils are about basic services, but what makes people want to live here? We need robust discussion but not behind closed doors.

Council needs to help organisation stage more events. We need more input from people affected by decisions – the young, Maori, those below the poverty line.

We have online tools for more informal approaches. Our vision needs our community behind it.

 

Ron Shaw

Ratepayers on fixed incomes are in real distress. We need to lock rates increases to inflation.

Resilient Carterton needs to be a community led development programme. Our people want leadership, and they want jobs and training for their kids.

We need to work with iwi and businesses and grow our economy.

I will drive the development and operation of a sustainable economic development action plan for Carterton.

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