Controlling rates and improving the city's roading network were some of the major
issues under discussion at a meet the candidates meeting in Papamoa last night.
Fifteen of the 20 hopefuls standing in next month's Tauranga byelection for an at-large position on the Tauranga City Council spoke to a crowd of about 50 people at the Papamoa Sports & Recreation Centre.
The meeting was organised the Papamoa Residents and Ratepayers' Association and chaired by the association's chairman Wayne George.
The byelection is to fill the position left vacant by the death of Councillor Gail McIntosh.
Each candidate was given three minutes to talk about their credentials and tell voters if elected what they would do for Papamoa in regards to traffic management, roading, safe cycle lanes, recycling and the area's rubbish collection.
What the 15 candidates in attendance had to say:
said he would push the council to adopt more sustainable practices and explore alternative ways of saving money.
That including investing in more sustainable infrastructure such as public transport, tackling recycling issues and the city's congestion problems.
Peter Stanley: "Public transport has got to be a top priority for council... I'm in favour of more cycle lanes but they must be separated from other traffic on our roads.
"Fixing our roading problems, getting more people recycling and keeping our rates down must be priorities... We can't just keep adding additional expenditures and expect ratepayers to foot the bill, " he said.
Murray Guy: "Delegating some decisions to the chief executive and staff has come home to roost with a 40 per cent rating requirement over the next three years.
"We can keep rates down as there are significant savings to be had. I opposed to the Cliff Rd Museum. I want to get the fiscal cap back to two per cent or less and ensure council gets to grips with its fiscal responsibility, " he said.
Sheldon Nesdale said his top priorities were fixing our traffic woes and the city's recycling system.
"I have come up with a list of 32 solutions to reduce the city's gridlock, including encouraging more people to change their transport behaviours even once a week.
"Getting more people biking to and from work and school and out of their cars frees up our roads..I'm also a big fan of giving people a greater incentive to recycle."
Mark Wassung said: "To tackle the traffic congestion especially in Papamoa we really need to see a shift to 'active modes' of transport with walking and cycling that overlaps with a multi-modal transport network which allows great access to cycleways."
"I also really believe council needs to be an enabler by investing in new technology to significantly reduce the amount of waste going to our landfills," he said.
Yvette Lamare said she was a tireless advocate for a drug and alcohol-free New Zealand and the number of vaping shops popping up in the city was sending the wrong message to youth.
Decreasing land rates was a top priority and there were other major issues which needed fixing but improving people's health and wellbeing came first, she said.
Zeepra Lemoto said: "In Papamoa, we need to have a better private rubbish collection to encourage more people to want to recycle. I want to keep the glass kerbside collection going as part of that incentive.
"We also need to increase our public transport options," she said.
John Robson said: "It's not hard to keep rates under control. It just needs a council fully committed to cutting out unnecessary spending, and a councillor with a backbone like me who is prepared to work hard to ensure that happens.
"Our major transport issues are solvable but we need to better prioritise our rates spending and the first thing I would take off the list is the $55m museum ."
Lester Grey: "I'm in favour of the museum but not the one being proposed. I agree rates increases need to be tagged and council spending kept under control.
"But we do need to fix the major issues we have, including our roads. I'd like to see the ring-road around Tauranga completed and have more access ways onto our highways."
Rosie Dawson-Hewes said seriously tackling climate change was a top priority for her, and "inaction was not an option" and recycling is really important.
"We can do better to reduce our carbon emissions. Tauranga is one of the highest carbon emitters in the country, and we need more bus lanes and cycleways to give people alternatives to using their car," she said.
"I would love to see a bus service from Papamoa straight into Tauranga city."
Tony Christiansen said:" Papamoa is very difficult to get in and out of and our roads have turned into parking lots and that needs to change.
"I will not support the proposed rates increase nor support the museum proposal as it stands. "
Our debt levels are a big challenge but last year council spent $10m on consultants...We also need to change what we do to get things happening sooner," he said.
Buddy Mikaere said: "Papamoa desperately needed a better transport system and a cross-harbour ferry to and from the city was achievable if the Harbour Master played ball.
"In terms of rates, the elephant in the room is our $400m council debt. Why not use some of our council reserves such as Domain Rd for new subdivisions, and the money raised used to help wipe out the debt," he said.
Bill Faulkner said: " I don't support an increase in rates beyond the CPI level of inflation. We have got to stop spending beyond our means.
"If elected I would stop the [$55m] museum which would add $5 to $6m to council's operating budget which would be untenable. The proposed rating requirement for the next three years is 40 per cent, something is got to be wrong if it stays at that amount."
Talia Harvey said as a chartered accountant and Inland Revenue tax investigator she was the ideal candidate to ask the "tough questions" of in terms of council spending and debt.
"I want to keep rates down but balance that with ensuring we spend more wisely on the essentials... I don't have all the answers but I do think recycling should be free."
Gillian Cook said she was totally against council selling off its elder housing stock as doing so for a "little cash" was appalling and would put elderly tenants at risk.
"I'm standing for the council to be a voice of reason on behalf of our vulnerable elderly, some who cannot speak for themselves, " she said.
Absent last night were the other five candidates Andrew Ragg, Douglas Owen, Anne Pankhurst, David Tank and Robert Curtis.
Voting papers are being sent out this week and polling day is May 1.