Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Group reveals election hopefuls

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Six candidates hope to topple mayor Steve Chadwick in the October elections.
Six candidates hope to topple mayor Steve Chadwick in the October elections.

Rotorua's largest ratepayer association has announced six candidates it hopes can topple mayor Steve Chadwick and her supporters from the Rotorua Lakes Council in October's elections.

After months of consultation and consideration, members of the Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers group have endorsed six council candidates to stand with the group's mayoral candidate Dr Reynold Macpherson.

The candidates are incumbent councillor Peter Bentley, former councillor Julie Calnan, Rotorua Lakes Community Board member John Dyer, Springfield Superette owner Raj Kumar, Grey Power Rotorua president Rosemary MacKenzie and financial adviser John Visser.

Group chairwoman, and incumbent councillor Glenys Searancke, who has already announced she will not be running in October's elections, said the group would consider endorsing other candidates at a later date.

In a statement to the Rotorua Daily Post, the group said it would "focus on restoring democracy, the rule of law, financial responsibility and policy-making power to elected representatives".

It said it would do this by "listening to the wishes of citizens in our diverse communities of interest when deciding policy, using unbiased public consultations on all matters of significance ... and implement their policies and decisions with fidelity, in a cost-effective and efficient manner".

The statement went on to say the group would also be "reinstating representative democracy as defined in statute, with 'one person, one vote', and decisions made only by elected representatives after taking appropriate advice, and ensuring that the council complies with the law with respect to governance, purposes, policy making, operations, performance management and the environment".

Mrs Searancke said the team would stabilise rates, make smarter decisions and set wiser priorities. Dr Macpherson said the group would "deliver legislated core services, set strict budgets within revenue, scrap the portfolios, retire debt, invest only in crucial infrastructure, and encourage investment".

"And bring our divided community back together again," he said.

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said the candidates were not a surprise and she would like to see a person of Indian heritage on the council.

"But Rotorua has universally disliked [people standing for] tickets, they prefer an independent person who can make their own decisions. I think some of their candidates will suffer due to their alignment.

"I think Rotorua also likes to see people with positivity. I haven't seen their policies yet so it's too early to make any judgment on that side of things," she said.

Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers (RDRR) group endorsed council candidates:

* To stand in October's Rotorua Lakes Council elections

* Incumbent councillor Peter Bentley

* Former councillor Julie Calnan

* Financial adviser John Visser

* Grey Power Rotorua president Rosemary MacKenzie

* Rotorua Lakes Community Board member John Dyer

* Springfield Superette owner Raj Kumar

What the six candidates had to say:

Peter Bentley: I want to contribute to Rotorua's future direction by using my knowledge of sound business practice. We must maintain and aim to improve the levels of service provided to ratepayers and residents. We must stop spending on frivolous, poorly researched projects. We must start giving value for the rates paid.

Julie Calnan: Owning and operating three successful businesses, plus a sound understanding of local government and council process, gives me the attributes required to make a good councillor. Councillors must advocate for and represent all ratepayers, while taking fiscal responsibility for ratepayer money. RDRR holds these same principles and beliefs.

John Visser: I aligned myself with the RDRR because I believe our district needs better leadership. It has become impossible to stand against the current council as an independent. To make a real difference, I am honoured to be part of a strong team able to retire the current regime.

Rosemary MacKenzie: I believe strongly in the policies of the RDRR. It is time to return council to core services. I have spent many years working in the social services field. There is strength in numbers and I am very happy to be one of the team returning our council to democracy.

John Dyer: I believe firmly there is a need for a change of council to make some tough decisions. As a Rotorua Lakes Community Board member, previously chief executive of several organisations, and with experience in establishing and running my own businesses, I know the importance of spending money wisely.

Raj Kumar: I joined RDRR to get transparent and democratic decision making, help more businesspeople and sports events to come to Rotorua, and improve our council services. The Indian community believes the council should live within its means, settle its debts, seriously limit rates rises and encourage start-ups and small businesses.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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