Far North voters have another chance to meet the candidates in the upcoming local government elections at Waipapa tomorrow.

Across the district 90 candidates are contesting the October 12 election, by far voters' biggest choice since the Far North District Council was established in 1989.

Sunday's event, at the Pioneer Tavern from 3pm, is restricted to council candidates in the Bay of Islands-Whangaroa ward to keep numbers manageable.

Each candidate will get three minutes to introduce themselves, then a minute on each of five questions or talking points.

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Some of the candidate meetings held so far have attracted unprecedented interest. More than 250 people crowded into the Cornerstone Church in Kerikeri on August 26 and about 100 at Paihia's War Memorial Hall two nights later.

At the Kerikeri meeting hot topics included inadequate infrastructure, claims of poor planning and council secrecy, and even a plan to bring the capital back to Northland.

Mayoral candidate Dave Hookway promised to make the council more open and accountable, and to cut the number of meetings held behind closed doors.

Mayoral candidate Dave Hookway. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Mayoral candidate Dave Hookway. Photo / Peter de Graaf

He also pledged to stop the ''tail wagging the dog'', saying council staff were getting involved in governance and elected members in operational matters. A case in point was the "slightly damaged" Kerikeri Domain pavilion which councillors had voted to rebuild two years ago but was now going to be demolished after all, he said.

In contrast Tania McInnes said the council wasn't broken — though some things could be done better — and with two terms' experience as deputy mayor she was now ready to lead.

The most original pitch for the mayoralty came from Harko Brown who said Northland ''went to pot'' in 1840 when the capital was moved from Okiato, near Russell, to Auckland.

His ''capital gain policy'' would bring back the national's capital and restore Te Kara, New Zealand's original United Tribes flag.

Brown also called for a tourist bed tax so ratepayers didn't have to foot the bill for fixing infrastructure ''thrashed'' by summer hordes.

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Mayoral candidate John Levers gets the look from MC Di Maxwell that says he's gone over time. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Mayoral candidate John Levers gets the look from MC Di Maxwell that says he's gone over time. Photo / Peter de Graaf

Peering over the lectern Monty Knight described himself as ''a little man with big ambitions'' and vowed to sort out the council's consenting department.

Like fellow candidate John Levers, Knight called on the council to make use of low interest rates to borrow for new infrastructure for a district ''growing like crazy''.

The loudest applause went to council and community board candidate Ruth Heta, aged 29, who said she was the first Māori to stand for council in Whangaroa in 24 years. Despite her youth she already had eight years' board experience.

Far North District Council and Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Community Board candidate Ruth Heta. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Far North District Council and Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Community Board candidate Ruth Heta. Photo / Peter de Graaf

With so many speakers the organisers ran a tight ship with would-be mayors given four minutes to speak and everyone else two minutes. Controversially, they also required anyone who wanted to speak to register beforehand. As a result mayoral candidates Jay Hepi, JT Tahana and Peter Gill weren't able to speak.

Other upcoming candidate meetings include Kaikohe (Senior Citizen's Hall, September 16, 6.30pm) and Opononi (War Memorial Hall, September 17, 6pm).