No need for party politics

Mr Tremain talks about politics as a "team game" and suggests his parliamentary background in Wellington is a good basis for a tilt at the Napier mayoralty despite his lack of experience as a local body councillor.

Really? Party politics in Wellington can be described as a "team game" because policies and philosophy have been accepted by the "team" before its term of office begins. But that is not – and should not be - the nature of local body politics.

The Government of which Mr Tremain was part showed very little interest in public input, which it treated as a matter of going through the motions. The Napier council of the past three years has also tended to go the same way, which is why it lost a case in the High Court last year due to its failure to consult, and why we are in a mess with the Aquatic Centre, the War Memorial and other local issues.


What we need is someone with the local government experience to realise there is a canker at the heart of Napier's current method of operating which needs urgent diagnosis and treatment.

Mr Tremain's previous successful career in real estate is very much to his credit, but it does raise a different question in relation to his candidacy. The Wellington Institute for Governance and Policy Studies recently published figures showing how in the Wellington mayoralty elections for 2016, "property developers" donated approximately 70 per cent of all declared donations to the mayoral candidates – "a staggering $147,300". In principle, is it wise for any city to have a mayor with close links to real estate and property development?
Robin Gwynn

More transparency please

I have enjoyed working with Claire Hague over the past three years and although we haven't always seen eye to eye I have always respected her opinion and input.

I completely respect the opinion shared in her Talking Point (August 22) but I am very surprised at the statements made. As one of the councillors who has been outspoken about concerns with the way Napier City Council engages with our community, I have always focused on the process as opposed to the people.

There has never been any intent to hang council staff "out to dry".

The role of a councillor is to represent our community and ensure they are provided with the information they require to provide input into the decision-making for our city. Sadly this is where council processes are currently falling over and there is an urgent need for greater transparency and openness.

I have been very vocal over the past few years about feedback I have received in my role as a councillor regarding the way council interacts with our community. There has been a very strong theme of discontent including comments such as:
• We don't feel heard and do not have a voice
• There is a massive disconnect between the community and council
• There is no accountability or transparency.


From my perspective there is a recurring pattern of insufficient information, late emergence of information or conflicting information and this has created the lack of engagement and in fact distrust towards the council. This highlights a fundamental failure of communication processes within Napier City Council, the end result being the inability for council to make robust transparent decisions, based on all the necessary information and then work with our community to move forward.
Cr Kirsten Wise

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Equal opportunity
Now that one of the Napier mayoral candidates, Chris Tremain, has responded to a correspondent by telling us, in a letter published on Friday, August 23, ("Public Office is a team game, says former MP Tremain") what he has achieved in his former role and how to find out about his future plans, could I ask that we now have letters of equal length from the other three mayoral candidates (Steve Gibson, Dave Hannay and Kirsten Wise) telling us similarly what they have done in the past and intend to do in the future, to help us make a fair comparison?
Cr Maxine Boag

Queries for Tremain

It was good to see Chris Tremain respond in a timely manner to my questions, but still pretty light on actual content.

You say you helped the less fortunate in Napier by providing support! You supported benefit reviews! You supported ACC reviews etc. And you intimated that you were somehow involved in Housing New Zealand homes. Well maybe Mr Tremain can tell us why when he was in Government the Housing New Zealand stock was so depleted and with no forward thinking for Napier's ''less fortunate" that these same ''less fortunate" people are now unable to obtain a rental house and are living in motels etc.

The cycleway was, I believe, more to do with Barbara Arnot than you. You refer to the team game as the solution to your candidacy and the chairmanship of charity organisations, not necessarily the best criteria for a mayor I would think.

Tell us now what you intend to do significantly for Napier's housing problem before you attempt to be mayor. Do you suggest more private housing development by large local companies that seem to only exacerbate the housing problem, not solve it? Is your shot at the mayoral position a sideways swing at trying to get National back in power in Napier?
Graham Jonson