With the Rotorua Lakes Council election done and dusted the district now has 19 elected members looking after the community's interests - the mayor and 10 councillors, and four members each on the council's Lakes Community Board and Rural Community Board.
The Rotorua Daily Post asked each a couple of questions.


Mayor Steve Chadwick: Total votes: 8990

What do you hope to achieve as mayor in the coming year?

We will be focused on seeing continued economic growth and development and key to that will be unlocking land. We also have some big projects coming up including the wastewater treatment system upgrade and we'll be working with NZTA to ensure we get ongoing investment in improving our roading infrastructure.

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What will be your biggest challenge in the next year?

Our new council team is passionate about Rotorua and we all want to see the district develop and prosper. A challenge will be showing we have listened to the community and gaining their confidence that we have a plan to meet the next stage of Rotorua's development.

Councillor Tania Tapsell: Total votes: 9567

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Rotorua right now?

Growing our economic base. We have progressed well over the last three years, however major effort is required to build on our economy to create jobs, and meet current as well as future demand. Council must ensure our infrastructure is up to standard and that opportunities are created for ongoing economic development and retail growth.

As this is your second term on council do you expect to make more of a contribution to the running of the city?

Yes, absolutely. We have some big challenges and decisions coming up this term.
I will ensure that more community consultation takes place, so residents within the Rotorua district can have their say on issues that effect them.
I will also be focusing on enhancing our environment and sustainability.


Councillor Peter Bentley: Total votes: 8177
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Rotorua at the moment?

We need to urgently assess our levels of service which are insufficient to maintain our infrastructure - roading, footpaths, sewerage, water, CBD, etc. These are expensive assets accumulated over many years, paid for by ratepayers. These must be preserved or there will be a premature need for costly replacements.

Will you continue to oppose the Te Arawa Partnership during this term on council?

I am opposed to any interest group having voting rights on council that are unelected by the whole community - irrespective of colour, race or creed. I shall continue to support the fundamentals of democracy. Something given for nothing has no value.


Councillor Merepeka Raukawa-Tait: Total votes: 7575
What do you think is the biggest challenge for Rotorua at the moment?

Economic growth and jobs. We are gaining traction in both areas and must remain fixated on supporting business development with investors and developers. Waste water, sewerage and infrastructure remain priorities.

What do you think of the new make-up of the council? Will it work well?

Board culture needs to change. The past three years has seen some councillors "older people acting badly", almost daily, getting personal when decisions don't go their way.

Debate rigorously by all means, but in a climate conducive to full and frank discussion. Leave egos at the door. All councillors have a collective responsibility to recognise abusive behaviour and put a stop to it.

Bring on council business, there is much to do.


Councillor Trevor Maxwell: Total votes: 7169
What do you think is the biggest issue facing Rotorua at the moment?

Water quality, sewage treatment and the method of disposal I believe are very important.

After 39 years on council, is there anything new you think you can offer the district?

Yes. If mayor Chadwick chooses me to continue as Cultural Ambassador I would like to expand the role to include international relationships, e.g. sister city, economic and friendship cities, hosting visiting delegations with support from local Chinese, Indian, and Pacific groups enhancing the "Rotorua Way". Continue supporting tourism, youth and age-friendly initiatives.


Councillor and deputy mayor Dave Donaldson: Total votes: 7059
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Rotorua at the moment?

Securing funding for infrastructure to underpin growth.

Last term in council was a tumultuous one, as deputy mayor do you think you need to "lay down the law" with regard to debate and discussion both in the chamber and outside?

There is no law against free speech and robust debate provided it's not defamatory.
Standing orders set the rules for debate and it's up to the chairpeople to apply them.
The tumult of the last term sheeted back to one issue in my view, the Te Arawa partnership.

Rotorua's had the conversation, and now the vote, and only two councillors who opposed the partnership at the final vote were returned.

The platform is set for Rotorua to soar in partnership with all our communities. I look forward to working with a positive team.


Councillor Mark Gould: Total votes: 6744
What do you think is the biggest issue facing Rotorua at the moment?

The biggest issue is managing the debt. Council has a number of large expenses in the short term that relate to the city's sewerage schemes.

The change of treated water from the forest by 2019 is a cost of approximately $29 million, which will be a cost to the community for some time.

How do you think the new council will work together given the last term and the behaviour of councillors?

I would hope that all councillors have learnt some valuable lessons from the last term regarding respecting each other's views and my sincere hope is that we can all get the real business of council completed in the best interests of the community.


Councillor Raj Kumar: Total votes: 6687
What do you think is the biggest issue facing Rotorua at the moment?

I strongly believe the biggest problem in Rotorua is more the challenge to find a permanent solution to synergise a great working relationship between the council and the bureaucrats that run the city.

A very transparent approach with the public, rather than propaganda.

Given your membership of the Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers (RDRR), will you be tackling each issue with an open mind, or will you be "toeing the party line?"

Yes, I will be [foregrounding] the issues of the RDRR, but with an open mind. Sometimes, less is more - listen more and work hard for Rotorua.


Councillor Rob Kent: Total votes: 6509
What do you think is the biggest issue facing Rotorua at the moment?

Attracting significant new economic development and industries to the district, such as jobs.

Given your recent history on council, do you think you will be able to work effectively with the mayor and the rest of council this term?

I will continue to work effectively with Steve and my council colleagues doing the job I am elected to do on behalf of our citizens.

The fact that I do not always agree with Steve or my colleagues is what democracy is all about and why we elect our council.


Councillor Charles Sturt: Total votes: 6285
What do you think is the biggest issue facing Rotorua at the moment?

The rates review, the disposal of treated effluent, water use and protection, social wellbeing, business development, rural roading, playground upgrades, tourism industry growth and sport and recreation. Our infrastructure must be maintained. Some of the big threats on the horizon is privatisation of our core services and forced amalgamation.

You've been on council for more than 20 years, do you hope to gain any further positions of responsibility this term?

I want to be an effective councillor who reflects the community's needs and wants. We can up the consultation, not just through the portfolios.

It's up to the mayor to assess the abilities and skills of each member, providing they want to contribute positively as a team.

I will not let things happen without responsibility and accountability being challenged when needed.


Councillor Karen Hunt: Total votes: 5896
What do you think is the biggest issue facing Rotorua at the moment?

Growing our economic base to create more and higher-paying jobs.

This needs increased business development in the digital and innovation sector, with focus on manufacturing, forestry and farming, while maximising our unique geothermal opportunities.

Moving our wastewater out of the forest remains the biggest infrastructure project ahead of us.

Looking back, would you have done anything differently when it comes to the inner city redevelopment?

I'm pleased with the changes we have made to the inner city and the mostly positive feedback.

I'm sorry that some people have found the process and speed of change rather jarring, however on balance there is little I would change as I believe the overall result has vastly improved the inner city.


Rural Community Board - Bob Martin. Elected unopposed.
What do you think is the biggest issue facing Rotorua's rural residents at the moment?

The most prominent issue concerning rural ratepayers is the deterioration of rural roads and services. The reduction of the yearly road sealing programme is not acceptable, it must be remembered that tourists also use these roads. Therefore a fair and balanced roading system is required.

You have been a district councillor in the past, what would you like to see done differently by the council during your term on the board?

A rural board with four members will need to listen to rural people and work with organisations like Federated Farmers and the rural tourist industry.

I require the annual plan consultation programme to be put back on the agenda.


Rural Community Board - Euan McLachlan. Elected unopposed.
What do you think is the biggest issue facing Rotorua's rural community is at the moment?

The biggest issues facing the Rotorua community in my view are the lack of roading maintenance and sustainability.

Many rural roads are in poor condition with a real lack of regular maintenance.

The other looming issue for many will be sustainable farming and nitrogen leaching implications.

As a new face on the council/board, what skills do you bring to the table?

Farmed in Taupo district for 25 years facing issues that Rotorua farmers will be familiar with.

Nitrogen runoff to lakes and waterways, farming sustainably and changing land use.

Experience in dairy grazing, cropping, sheep and beef breeding, horticulture, geothermal power production and great relationship with iwi will be put to good use.


Rural Community Board - Chris Sutton. Elected unopposed.
What do you think is the biggest issue facing Rotorua's rural community at the moment?

Representation. Up until now there has been a huge disconnect between council and the rural communities. We should have two representatives each on the Operations and Monitoring Committee and the Strategy, Policy and Finance Committee.

As a new face on the council/board, what skills to you bring to the table?

I have had two decades of advocacy and governance on behalf of rural people to district and regional councils and central government.


Rural Community Board - Shirley Trumper. Elected unopposed.
What do you think is the biggest issue facing Rotorua's rural community at the moment?

The single biggest issue for rural residents is rates and the few services we receive.
The push for growth in the city has effectively been to the detriment of the rural district and that must be addressed.

As a new face on the council/board, what skills do you bring to the table?

I believe my strength is advocating for people's rights. As a board, we have a strong voice and that will ensure a team approach to providing support on rural issues direct to council table.


Lakes Community Board - Jim Stanton. Total votes: 736
What do you think is the biggest issue facing lakes residents at the moment?

The ongoing quest for improvement to lakes water quality remains a primary focus for RLCB which will continue to work alongside other strategic groups and both councils to promote and support all necessary interventions to achieve this aim. Current intentions to implement sewerage schemes for east Rotoiti/Rotoma and Tarawera communities will be a priority.

As a resident of Lake Rotoiti, do you think the regional council is doing enough to protect the lake and keep it clean?

Lake Rotoiti water quality has improved significantly since the installation of the Ohau diversion wall. BOPRC's lake level control and support of lake margin and wetland enhancements are greatly assisting in maintaining water quality but perennial exotic weed growth and growing wallaby populations are increasing threats needing more attendance.


Lakes Community Board - Nick Chater: Total votes - 676
What do you think is the biggest issue facing lakes residents at the moment?

To ensure the lakes community have a voice that actually means something at the council table and best represents our community.

Moving forward is about making sustainable, positive decisions around the use and protection of our lakes and the various groups that are interacting on and around them.

As a new face on the board/council, what new skills to you bring to the table?

I bring a mind-set that will always start from a positive and respectful view point.

I have wide-ranging skills and experiences that I believe allow me to see things from a number of angles.

Coming from an educational background the boardroom, meetings and decision-making is something I'm more than comfortable with.


Lakes Community Board - Phill Thomass. Total votes: 555.
What do you think is the biggest issue facing Rotorua's lakes residents the at the moment?

Completion of the Rotoiti-Rotoma scheme and sewerage reticulation for Tarawera and Rotoehu are the biggest current issues, but each community has its own issues as well.

Long-term the spatial review and proposed Lakes A-Zone review will have major impacts on how our communities look in the future.

Considering you are the only remaining board member from last term, did you want to take on more responsibility this term? If so, what would they be?

With possible new delegations from council and an expanded area the incoming board faces many new challenges.

I am keen to help my fellow board members develop an effective structure to proactively engage with our lakes communities and council in the new environment we find ourselves in.


Lakes Community Board - Fred Stevens. Total votes: 538.
What do you think is the biggest issue facing Rotorua's lakes community at the moment?

Water quality. The Lake Tarawera settlement does not have a reticulated sewerage system, even though there is a connection available at the Lake Okareka grinder system for the effluent to be reticulated to the Rotorua city wastewater treatment plant. Septic tank effluent is in many cases being discharged directly to the lake water-table.

As a new face on the board/council, what skills to you bring to the table?

I am a professional registered architect and I like common sense solutions.

I don't enjoy sitting around talking and like to get on and get things done.

I have considerable building and planning expertise and am very familiar with the Resource Management Act and associated Environment Court processes.