Time to get a real job for 'dole bludger'

By Laurel Stowell -
18 comments
STANDING: Craig Falconer is putting himself up for election to Whanganui District Council.
STANDING: Craig Falconer is putting himself up for election to Whanganui District Council.

One aspiring Whanganui councillor could be asking Work and Income for a loan to buy a suit.

Craig Falconer - who got the nickname "Frog" after swallowing a fly at intermediate school - is standing for Whanganui District Council at October's election.

He has been unemployed for about a decade and says it is time he had a real job.

"I definitely need a real job, and this is probably my calling," Mr Falconer said.

"You can't fight city hall, so you might as well join it."

In the past he's called himself "a dole bludger from hell" and an alcoholic, but he wants to be taken seriously. He's promising to stand up for underdogs, and "do the hard yards".

"I'm a functional alcoholic and when I take things seriously, I go hard. I will go to all the meetings, not like some of the ones we have had. If I need to turn up straight, I will turn up straight."

He's offering to shovel silt off properties after floods and help dig sewage ponds.

He'd also like to boost Whanganui tourism and see the sewage problem solved.

His "outside the square" idea is to send Whanganui's sewage for treatment at an enlarged system at Whanganui Prison. Then the mothballed Airport Rd treatment system could be used for industrial waste, and industry could be prosecuted if there were problems.

"It's now pumped straight back out to sea. There's our clean image gone."

He said Whanganui, which he calls "Dodge", has issues; not too many jobs, a lot of empty shops. He'd like to make small, affordable improvements and is used to living on a budget.

"You can't do much to Dodge. A frill here and a frill there, it all adds up." He's planning a "shoestring" campaign using Facebook, his Shock FM radio station, which broadcasts to central Whanganui, and posters.

Mr Falconer has lived in Whanganui most of his life, and now moves between a house in Waverley and Whanganui's Commercial Hotel.

He's been convicted of driving drunk nine times and is disqualified for life. He uses a bicycle around town, and a friend drives him places in a Jaguar. One of his early convictions for driving drunk happened during his mayoral campaign in 2004. He nearly ran over a police officer at a Putiki checkpoint, he said, because a dog in the car had steamed up the windows.

He got 173 votes at that election.

This time he's only trying for councillor, but said it would be the mayoralty next.

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