Candidates vying for a seat on the Tauranga City Council have been quizzed about what they think the role of a city councillor is.

Thirty-one potential councillors were invited to the candidates event at Tauranga Art Gallery this evening, and all that attended were asked "what is your understanding of your role as an elected member, and what can you do or not do?"

In groups of five, potential councillors answered this question, then each answered another question pulled from a hat. Following this, questions were taken from the floor.

Jesse Misa, standing for Te Papa-Welcome Bay Ward, said the role of a councillor was to serve, advocate and be accountable.


Te Papa-Welcome Bay Ward candidate Hori Leaming said integrity was everything. It was important to be able to read and understand the reams of documents that came across a councillor's table, but also to be able to research anything they could not understand.

Leanne Brown, standing for Mount Maunganui - Papamoa Ward, was asked whether Local Government had a role in affordable housing. She replied Local Government and Central Government had roles to play. She wanted to see more subdividing of existing properties that were not under covenants.

Kelvin Clout, at large candidate, was asked about what he would do to attract businesses to relocate to Tauranga, and answered that the city clearly needed 21st century infrastructure - decent water supply, wastewater, sewerage, stormwater projects and the roading network - as well as cultural, art and sporting amenities.

Otumoetai-Pyes Pa Ward candidate Catherine Stewart was asked about her vision for Tauranga in 10 to 15 years, responding she wanted a city for all ages and a city that was filled from bottom to top rather than top to bottom.

Mark Wassung, at large candidate, was asked about development contributions. He said he believed in development contributions because they were necessary to providing infrastructure.

At large candidate Rick Curach was asked whether he would ensure Tauranga was an age-friendly city, to which he replied that age-friendly did not just mean elderly, and young people needed looking after as well.

Otumoetai-Pyes Pa Ward candidate Jo West was quizzed on whether a vibrant arts and cultural sector was important to attract skilled people, businesses and investment, to which she replied "absolutely", and said arts and culture were important to connect and engage the community.

Bev Edlin, standing for Otumoetai-Pyes Pa Ward, was asked how to make Tauranga a more vibrant city centre. Dr Edlin said the council needed to make sure there was a blueprint for the city so it knew which direction it was heading.

The other attending councillors were Antoine Coffin, Alan Davidson, Max Mason, Gail McIntosh, Noel James Peterson, Hugh Robb, John Robson, Steve Morris, Larry Baldock, Graeme Moore, Sheldon Nesdale, Bill Grainger, Murray Guy, Terry Molloy and Brian Oxley.

To catch all the action at the candidates forum go to the Bay of Plenty Times Facebook page and watch the live streamed video.