Rates and bypass dominate Katikati meet the candidates evening

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Meet the candidates evening in Katikati, where the bypass, rates and council debt dominated talk.
Meet the candidates evening in Katikati, where the bypass, rates and council debt dominated talk.

More than 70 people gathered in Katikati War Memorial Hall to 'meet the candidates' standing for Western Bay District Council.

It was no surprise that the much-sought after Katikati bypass and escalating rates were the hot topics of last night's meeting.

A common thread in the speeches was calls for change in council, a need for strong leadership and more value for money.

Almost all candidates mentioned the need for a bypass but were split in terms of what to do about rates.

In the question and answer portion of the evening a member of the Katikati ratepayers association asked current councilors standing again why some had strong feelings about freezing rates when they had done nothing about it for the last three years.

The questioner was told district council had bills and debts to pay and had been trimming costs over the past three years.

Another asked why the ratepayers had to pay the entry fee at the new Katikati museum when their rates had helped pay for it. Sam Dunlop, running for community board, said the museum would pay for itself in the coming years.

A member of the public asked council candidate Peter McKay where he would sit on Easter Trading law changes.

He said in a diverse religious community it did not make sense to have a Christian holiday take precedence. He would vote to let businesses decide for themselves, but said it was up to the council as a whole.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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