Rotorua's seven mayoral candidates were put under the sustainability spotlight tonight at a special candidates meeting of Rotorua Green Drinks.

More than 100 people packed the Blue Baths to hear what their candidates had in the way of policy regarding the district's sustainable future.

Facilitated by Richard Gillies, each candidate was given five minutes to respond to the question "what would a council under your leadership do to protect or improve the environment and health of its residents, while at the same time enable a flourishing local economy?"

Their answers were followed by questions covering everything from the living wage, different options to the upgrade of the waste water treatment plant and the safety of Rotorua's water supply.

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"It's not a debate, there will be no winner, that will be decided on October 8," Mr Gillies said.

Mark Gould began by saying sustainability was not his strong point but he was keen to protect lake water quality in the district.

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He was followed by Frances Louis who spoke about her upbringing at her marae near Ohau Channel and how her family learned to live off the land. She said it was all about protecting the environment for future generations.

Dr Reynold Macpherson asked the audience to "power read" a number of slides of policy statements put together by the Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers group.

John Rakei-Clark was next up saying he did not think Rotorua had any environmental problems, but he would work with anyone who brought environmental concerns to the council if he was made mayor, and sell off some of the district's resources.

Steve Chadwick reminded guests she was a former Minister of Conservation and outlined the council's sustainability strategy saying it was still a work in progress after 18 months of community consultation and wanted to exploit Rotorua's largely untapped geothermal resources.

Rob Kent said sustainability was a difficult balancing act before describing what he would like to see done in the CBD with a new one-way system down Tutanekai St with markets and entertainment on side streets and a free city loop bus service.

RangiMarie Kingi said she had been doing her own testing of lake water quality in the area and said she already practised a sustainable lifestyle by using public transport and cycling as much as she could. She said she was concerned about the depopulation of birds and insects around Lake Rotorua.

Mr Gillies said it was a great turnout and overall, most of the candidates put forward good responses.

"It was a tough ask to try and convey a whole policy platform in five minutes.

"There is obviously a big focus on water issues - waste water and water quality - and recycling.

"The draft sustainability strategy didn't really light a fuse, there were not too many attacks on it, so who knows how that will develop, I think that will be interesting."