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Voters hear what’s on offer

By Hayley Gastmeier

[email protected]

Martinborough Lions hosted a Meet the Candidates night last Thursday for those seeking to join South Wairarapa District Council Eleven Martinborough Ward hopefuls spoke to a full hall of ratepayers outlining their goals for the town and district.


Brian Jephson

Seeking a third term on SWDC. Jephson’s goals remain the same as when first elected: “people, planet and profit”.

On council he aims to continue improving the district’s infrastructure, build strong communities, and keep rate increases in line with the long-term plan.

He is in favour of accelerating the wastewater irrigation to land scheme.

Although “very concerned” about the amalgamation of Wairarapa councils, Jephson is adamant South Wairarapa will have a strong voice if it goes ahead.


Greg Whitten

Whitten said “there must be the right people in place” to prepare the district for amalgamation, during which he will “make sure Masterton’s debt is carefully integrated”.

He said SWDC’s assets were not being properly utilised and if elected he would ensure the value of those assets was recognised.

He wants to see an expansion of responsibilities held by community boards.

A past president of Property Council NZ, he has managed both funds and debt on a large scale.


Martin Freeth

A journalist and communications consultant Freeth has vast experience working in big companies “gathering and analysing information, and making sense of events and issues for the rest of the world”.

Freeth has wide experience in governance matters.

He wants to see SWDC “do better” with some of its regulatory responsibilities, especially when it comes to “timing and cost”, and to achieve faster internet speeds for South Wairarapa.


Alice Arndell

Arndell aims to make Martinborough “the best little town in New Zealand” and believes upgrading its broadband connectivity is essential for its growth.

She said due to a lack of vacant sections available, the town plan needs to be redeveloped to ensure it grows in a sustainable manner.

“Young and enthusiastic”, Arndell said improving Wairarapa’s public transport system must be a priority and SWDC needed to be encouraging new businesses to the area.


Alex Wall

Wall’s family has been in Martinborough “since before the town was founded”.

With a background in teaching, marketing and design, for the last 25 years he has been working in big business “managing multi-million dollar revenue streams”.

He said currently SWDC’s spending was “ill-considered, ill thought out and often poorly executed”.

On council, “no nonsense” Wall will ensure wiser spending and halt unnecessary rates increases.


Mary Tipoki

Having lived in the district for 45 years, Tipoki has contributed to the area’s tourism through her businesses, Lake Ferry Hotel and Lake Ferry Holiday Park.

She believes in “quality and not quantity tourism” so as to “preserve our pristine environment”.

A registered nurse, Tipoki is passionate about ecology and people and has served in many community groups.

She intends to serve Wairarapa “with my boots on”.


Pam Colenso

For 15 years Colenso has served on the Martinborough Community Board, through which she has learnt the “ins and outs of local government processes”.

She is chairwoman of the Marinborough Community Patrol and secretary of the Martinborough RSA. Involved with Civil Defence, Colenso “is no stranger to getting stuck in”.

If elected, she will see SWDC manages its budget prudently and ensure funds are distributed fairly throughout the district.

She thinks telecommunication and access to the region need improvement.


Terry Te Maari

As a sixth generation living in Pirinoa, Te Maari is a “worthy advocate” for farmers and those living in coastal South Wairarapa.

He has been on the SWDC Maori Standing Committee for at least a decade.

If elected, he “could help develop” tourism in the area.

He is neutral on the subject of amalgamation but would “stick up” and “be a voice” for the district if it goes ahead.

He is a trustee of Kohunui Marae.


Pip Maynard

A fifth generation woman from Martinborough, Maynard “understands the area’s history”.

She supports long-term environmental plans to protect waterways, wetlands and recreational areas.

She wants to see restoration of the region’s rivers and streams.

At age 15, Maynard was inaugurated into the SWDC as a town crier, promoting the region throughout the country and gaining insight into local government.

Working as ANZ’s national complaints manager, she excels in problem solving. Maynard supports free Wi-Fi.


Robert Hunter

Hunter does not support amalgamation of Wairarapa councils, saying SWDC is already an amalgamated council.

He said with many town-based events, Martinborough’s sewage system needed urgent upgrading and the Ruamahanga bridge needed replacing.

Town water and river quality need to be priorities of SWDC, he said.

Hunter does not support Easter trading. He would be “a voice on council that respects your opinion”.


Council candidate Graham Higginson is also seeking the South Wairarapa mayoralty, and as a result was profiled in Saturday’s Times-Age as a mayoral candidate.


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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