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Greytown hopefuls speak

By Hayley Gastmeier

[email protected]

Over 120 potential voters crammed into the Greytown Town Centre function room on Wednesday night to meet their council candidates.

Organised by the Greytown Lions, ratepayers heard from those fighting to represent Wairarapa on the Greater Wellington Regional Council, the South Wairarapa mayoralty hopefuls, and the South Wairarapa District Council Greytown Ward candidates.

People running for the Greytown Community Board and Greytown Trust Lands Trust also had the opportunity to speak.

Each candidate spoke for two minutes and then answered pre-submitted questions.

Below is a brief outline of what the Greytown Ward nominees said.


Dean Davies

With the high number of long-serving councillors standing down, Davies said it was vital to retain some “experience” within SWDC, which he could provide.

He has been involved in the amalgamation conversations and “understands the key issues” the district is facing.

Davies has a 20-year history in tourism, an industry important to Greytown, and would like to see the district’s cycleways connect up.

He said “there was room for improvement” regarding communication between SWDC and ratepayers.


Margaret Craig

Craig has a deep understanding of South Wairarapa as she and her husband have lived and worked in all three communities.

A councillor for a number of years, Craig has “worked hard”, is on the Cobblestones Trust and is chairwoman of the Wairarapa Road Safety Council.

She believes SWDC must concentrate on core business and work within budgets to keep rates under control.

She supports increased public transport capacity and sustainable economic and business growth.


Mike Gray

Gray said the council’s job was about “ensuring value for rates paid and demonstrating prudent stewardship”.

SWDC must continue “the establishment of a progressive, vibrant district” and “creating resilient and adaptable sustainable communities”.

He said the economic urban development “issues” needed addressing.

Consultation and informing people “is not enough” and the public need to be able to participate in decision making processes.

Gray is “unhappy about the forced amalgamation”.


Jerry Steer

A Greytown resident of 10 years, Steer has business and government department experience in planning, management, systems and governance.

He is standing to ensure Greytown remains “a great place to be”.

He said amalgamation was imminent and a plan in “how to address it” was necessary.

South Wairarapa needs affordable rates and to be consulted on decisions by council, which must provide plans to public “in clear, plain language”.


Paora Ammunson

Ammunson’s roots go deep as his ancestors welcomed the first pakeha settlers to Greytown.

He said the community needed “to work together on a shared vision” for the town. Council’s most important role was charting a direction forward.

“We need leadership,” he said.

Ammunson said all SWDC decision’s must reflect all community voices.

With its fast growing population, South Wairarapa needs access to 24-hour medical care and improved infrastructure.


Colin Wright

With 50 years’ experience, Wright has “more experience in local government than any other candidate” standing for Wairarapa’s local body elections.

He has lived in Wairarapa for 37 years, 19 of them in Greytown.

Wright was chief executive of the Carterton District Council and the Wairarapa Catchment Board.

He was Wairarapa district manager for GWRC.

If elected, he would focus on amalgamation, the Waiohine River and getting wastewater out of waterways.


John Gilberthorpe

Gilberthorpe was a Wellington City councillor for a decade, then became chief executive of the Wellington Museums Trust.

Through these roles he “developed a deep understanding of the workings of local government”.

He worked for Destination Wairarapa as a sustainable tourism advisor and is the executive officer at Pukaha Mt Bruce.

He wants to see ultrafast broadband, restrained rates, and the wastewater to land scheme advanced.



Greytown Ward candidate Viv Napier is also vying for the South Wairarapa mayoralty and was profiled with other mayoral contenders in an earlier edition of the Times-Age.


  1. One must ask why people were crammed into the side annex of a large, rarely used area of the town centre designed for public meetings and exhibitions. What a waste of space and rate payers $$$$

  2. One has to ask, why we cram people into the side annex of the town centre when there is a large rarely used space for the purpose of public meetings, exhibitions etc.

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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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