Editorial: 'The four horsemen' ride in on a mission

By Mark Dawson

4 comments
The Whanganui Beyond 2030 team all made it on to council -- Alan Taylor, Graeme Young, David Bennett and Murray Cleveland
The Whanganui Beyond 2030 team all made it on to council -- Alan Taylor, Graeme Young, David Bennett and Murray Cleveland

Some anonymous wag nicknamed them "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" ...

They rode into town all set to wreak havoc on plans for a $41.2 million wastewater treatment plant.

And for David Bennett, Alan Taylor, Murray Cleveland and Graeme Young, Saturday's election result was a great big tick.

Despite a combined age somewhere north of 240 years, the four-man team was not being ironic when dubbing themselves Whanganui Beyond 2030.

It seems the wastewater treatment plant - and, more pertinently, the projected rates rise that accompanies it - was the key issue of this election and enough to see these four home, despite only Pacific Helmets boss Mr Bennett and former Rural Community Board chairman Alan Taylor having much profile in the community at large.

If the treatment plant will be the elephant in the room when our new council sits down for the first time, there will be 13 zookeepers keen to get it into its cage as soon as possible.

There are too many other important issues for the new Whanganui District Council to get on with for it to be sidelined too long re-assessing how our waste is dealt with.

The Whanganui Beyond foursome, with councillors Charlie Anderson, Philippa Baker-Hogan and Rob Vinsen who have already voted against the new plant, give the nay-sayers - on paper - a 7-6 edge.

Hopefully the plant debate will be revisited quickly and thoroughly, an absolutely final decision will be reached, and a sense of unity will descend upon what could be a potentially divisive group of elected representatives.

Work on the $41.2 million plant is under way. It's probably 50-50 that it will be seen through to a finish.

Away from wastewater, mayor Hamish McDouall and his mayoral rivals Helen Craig and Mr Taylor all offered interesting ideas to boost prosperity in the district, and no one can say this council lacks business acumen.

Elsewhere in the election, the swingeing axe of democracy made veteran Ray Stevens a triple loser (mayoralty, council and district health board), but at least he did not waste money campaigning.

Another councillor quiet in the campaign and also biting the dust is one-time mayoral aspirant Jack Bullock. A couple of court appearances won't have helped his cause, but perhaps his lack of appearances at the council table that really sealed his fate.

In his stead, the baton of youth has been taken up by Josh Chandulal-Mackay - a verdict that should be welcomed by everyone.

I hope he is not intimidated by those colleagues so many years his senior, and that he is not patronised by them as the "junior". He may prove smarter than most.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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