Dam dominating campaign for candidates

By Alice Lock

1 comment
Confident: Paul Bailey has used his campaign to show his anti-Dam stance and believes this has won him one of the three Napier seats.
Confident: Paul Bailey has used his campaign to show his anti-Dam stance and believes this has won him one of the three Napier seats.

Only one candidate out of the five vying for one of the three Napier seats on the Hawke's Bay Regional Council is going into today's elections with a load of confidence.

Paul Bailey is the only one who has used his campaign to openly show he is against the Ruataniwha Dam and believes this has won him the seat.

"The top question I have been asked is whether I support the Dam and I can count on my fingers the number of people who would not vote for me. The support has been overwhelming," Mr Bailey said.

He has used his stance against the Dam as the key message for his campaign, putting it on his billboards and all over social media.

"I want voters to know I am only the candidate against the Dam. It will make it very easy for them to decide who to vote for."

Candidate Moira Irving, who openly supports the Dam, said it has strongly impacted her campaign, particularly with regards to her use of social media.

"There have been some very unpleasant comments and some of my signs were defaced with strong comments that focused on my view of the Dam."

She said she had tried to emphasise to the people that there were many other issues that needed to be taken care of, not just the Dam.

"I am confident that Napier voters will be wanting councillors who do not have a single-issue focus, and I believe I have the experience and balance needed to be a good representative for Napier."

Candidate Martin Williams had also tried to focus on other issues but said being the lawyer for HBRIC made it difficult, as people assumed his position on the Dam before he could speak.

"I just wanted to correct everyone's misconceptions about the negatives of the Dam, as they can say it is not a good idea without knowing the actual risks."

Fifth-time campaigner Neil Kirton was also faced with the Dam question regularly and because he could not give a certain position, he said people who would normally support him were not planning to.

"This is the first time I am really unsure as to how it will go, it all depends on the opinion patterns of the people, whether they're pro Dam or anti Dam."

Alan Dick who is the only one going for another term, said he had been open with his policies and would find out on Saturday whether his position towards the Dam has had an affect.

"There are plenty of different views and opinions and I think Greenpeace have been dishonest in their approach but it is a democracy, so people will make their choices depending on their personal values."

He said he was not losing any sleep over the election but would be happy to see it over this weekend.

"It is in the lap of the Gods, at the end of the day it is up to the people."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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