Candidate's claim disputed

By Nicki Harper

3 comments
Alex Walker on the podium at the Central Hawke's Bay mayoral candidates meeting in Waipawa on Tuesday evening. Photo / Warren Buckland
Alex Walker on the podium at the Central Hawke's Bay mayoral candidates meeting in Waipawa on Tuesday evening. Photo / Warren Buckland

Central Hawke's Bay mayoral candidate Alex Walker has raised the ire of a current councillor over comments made comparing the CHB District Council to the Thames Coromandel District Council at the Hawke's Bay Today mayoral debate this week.

During her summing up, Ms Walker referred to the 2010 local government elections when the Thames Coromandel mayor and all councillors bar one were voted out of council.

"Since then the Thames Coromandel council has been one of best examples of a council operating well with its community," she said.

Aramoana Ruahine ward candidate Maitland Manning, who is standing for election for a fifth term in council this year, said suggesting replacing an entire council was a dangerous proposition fraught with risk.

"It's a matter of good governance. Any good board that has nine members would see upwards of three come up for re-election at any one time so there are always six still on the board to keep continuity, and you retain the expertise and knowledge.

"To go down the path of replacing everybody is not ideal - the next thing you know you will have a council that does not know about anything."

Ms Walker responded that the current experience of those on the council had got CHB in the situation it was in and despite having a long time to create change and solutions they had failed to do so.

Democracy is about bringing a range of skills to the table - we need a wide representation of different perspectives to solve the issues, we need fresh perspectives."

She said fears about a new council's inexperience should be allayed by the fact the legislative framework set up around such documents as district, annual and long-term plans meant the risk was low of a new council upsetting any prior work that had been done.

"The budgets are already set. A comment was made at the meeting that the council can't be slowed down by inexperience, but if their experience was so great why did they allow the district plan to go this far out of date so now it is being rushed?"

The Thames Coromandel council was a good example of taking a "back to the community" economic development approach, she said.

She noted that in the 2013 elections, apart from one councillor that stood down, all the Thames Coromandel councillors who started in 2010 were returned to their positions.

Mr Maitland added that in the past year that council's rates had increased 30 per cent from 2.1 per cent to 2.8 per cent.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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