Candidates: Vague or explicit

Some candidates are sure of what they stand for - grab stray cats! - but others waffle on about family links.

Margaret Craigie is demanding equal laws for cats and dogs in her council area. Photo / Hagen Hopkins
Margaret Craigie is demanding equal laws for cats and dogs in her council area. Photo / Hagen Hopkins

Cats beware: a plot is being hatched to give feline felons the same treatment as dogs.

An Upper Hutt City Council candidate wants cats microchipped, registered and - if they stray where they're not welcome - impounded.

Candidate Margaret Craigie used her pitch in a public profile for local government candidates to demand equal laws for cats and dogs.

"Given our proximity to large tracts of bush in Upper Hutt, the cat issue needs to be discussed," she writes.

Booklets of candidate profiles have been mailed out with postal ballots, due for return by noon on Saturday, October 12.

Craigie, a 43-year-old outdoor education instructor, told the Herald on Sunday she was inspired by anti-cat campaigner Gareth Morgan. "I thought it was attention-getting, particularly given Gareth Morgan got a lot of attention with it."

With a word limit of 150, she decided to deal with two topics so people would know what they were voting for, Craigie said.

But 150 words proved too many for her rival Paul Brown, who simply wrote: "When elected I will bring fresh new ideas to ensure the resilience of Upper Hutt."

Others devote paragraph after paragraph to family connections, pastimes and, as is to be expected, grievances.

Local government academic Andy Asquith, from Massey University in Albany, is unimpressed with the calibre of candidates and their pocket biographies. "We have citizens with too much time on their hands and more money than what they know to do with ... the sad thing is some of these people will get elected and cause havoc."

Asquith said voters needed to know more about people's experience than their heritage, and whether they can work in a team - not to mention what they stand for. Meanwhile, lobby groups as varied as the Nurses Organisation, Fluoride Action Network and the Communities and Residents Association have issued lists of preferred candidates.

Not all endorsements are appreciated however. Mana local body candidate Roger Fowler is furious with Auckland City councillor Arthur Anae for backing him:

"Quite frankly, it's the kiss of death."

In their words

Margaret Craigie, Upper Hutt City Council candidate: "Equal laws for cats and dogs ... the cat issue needs to be discussed."

Jackie Elliott, Kapiti District Council mayoralty and council candidate: "In 1974, at age 9, I wrote to our first mayor, Barry Hadfield, suggesting how he could do his job."

Michael Mooney, Marlborough District candidate: "I am Christian unashamedly. That means flawed needing help. I attend the Salvation Army."

Harry Kent, Upper Hutt City Council candidate: "If someone badmouths the Kents ask, what have they been up to?"

Julian Crawford, Dunedin City Council candidate: "Cannabis tourism represents a huge potential for regional economic development in Dunedin."

Emmett Hussey, Auckland mayoral candidate: "I promise to strive (within my control) not to inflict on others what I would not be prepared to accept myself under the same circumstances."

Mary-Anne Benson-Cooper, Kaipatiki Local Board: "My vision is to ensure we feel safe to walk our roads and beaches with family and friends and dogs."

Chris Boxall, Waitemata District Health Board: "Author of four self-published books, including my grandmother's memoirs."

Terry Courtier, Waitemata District Health Board: "Joined the New Zealand Navy as a youth, left a chief petty officer."

- Herald on Sunday

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