Thirty-three council hopefuls had the chance to sell themselves to a room full of residents with the best track record for voting - Rotorua's seniors.

Grey Power Rotorua hosted a meet the candidates event today with about 150 people turning up to hear what each candidate stood for in their bid to win a seat.

Candidates Victor Storey and Carolyn Sanitago were unable to make the meeting, sending their apologies.

Each candidate was given three minutes to speak and were asked to address one question - why should you get our vote.


Grey Power president Russell Hallam said he was thrilled with the turnout of this and the mayoral event held last week.

"These events are beneficial to the community and I was pleased to see the candidates and audience had respect for each other and allowed everyone to have their time."

What the candidates said:

Karen Hunt

- said councillors needed vision and while the election was about competition, once elected, it becomes about teamwork. Among her priorities she said it was important the elderly had access to a well-lit, safe CBD.

Warren Webber - said he was proud to be a pakeha and fourth generation Kiwi. He said he was a transparent communicator and clear thinker supporting good policy.

Peter Bentley - said he stood for a democratically elected council and that his time on council had not yet finished. He said rates should not exceed inflation and would continue to oppose what he considered wasteful spending.

Waitsu Wu - said she would do her best to make sure issues were discussed in council and that it was important both young people and senior citizens felt valued.

Bobby Mihi Howard - said she fell in love with Rotorua and was passionate about the community. She said she would be a good councillor because of her resilience and level-headedness.

Dave Donaldson - said he had a passion for Rotorua, was approachable and a good listener, bringing to the council table experience from various facets of the community.

Kiri Skipwith - said her focus was on young people and ensuring the youth vote as the over-65 demographic does.

Annette Joyce - said with 50 years service to education she had the skills, knowledge and experience needed to be a strong councillor. She focused on improving communication, reducing debt and being a team player.

Rosemary MacKenzie - said she was part of a team who were going to make a difference. She said she would focus on council provided housing, stopping wasteful spending and bringing more jobs to the city. Her philosophy is "people first".

Kingi Biddle - said he cared about the people in the Rotorua community and believed everyone had the right to have a say and be heard. He said he recognised the people of Te Arawa were not the only ones who have not been heard.

Natasha Benfell - said she was positively standing up for what was right and wanted to "move together in a positive way".

Merepeka Raukawa-Tait - said the one thing elected councillors could not do without was common sense. She said 10,000 citizens voted for her in the last election and she was seeking their support for another three years.

Bill Hedges - said his aim as a district councillor was to treat the position as a job, he was not there for the ego.

Shelly Fischer - said she was passionate about Rotorua and where it was heading but was not afraid to speak out when decisions were being made that were not in the best interest of everyone.

Joseph Gielen - said he stood for a council that listened and that he too was a pensioner who was worried about rates. "I will call for your input before making big decisions, not after."

Rob Kent - said he was the councillor who asked the awkward questions. He said he wanted people to vote for him as mayor but "just in case, vote for me as a councillor who will look after your money and your district".

Michael Staite - said he stood for the environment and revitalised communities. He said he was for economic growth, robust consultation and local priorities. "It's about you, it's about me, it's about all of us - manaakitanga."

Julie Calnan - said she had a business background and understood the importance of cutting her coat according to her cloth. "Councillors must never forget there is no such thing as council money, only ratepayer money."

Mike McVicker - said the last council achieved a lot of significant changes, some positive, citing debt reduction, and some negative, citing the Te Arawa Partnership. He said he believed the council had gone a step too far and had lost its direction.

Eraia Kiel - said he had real and true core values of respect, hard work and making sure people are looked after. He said it was about "taking you by the hand and leading you to the future". One of his goals was to have every home in Rotorua geothermally heated.

Stuart Burns - said Rotorua was seeing an improved economic situation but should not lose sight of farming, forestry and agriculture. In reducing council debt he said good oversight was required.

Trevor Maxwell - said he had three passions - arts, Maori culture and local government. He said Rotorua was the best place to live, work and play and the council should consist of experience, youth, team players and loyalty.

Rawiri Daniels - said he had already represented thousands of workers in the community and had the knowledge and what was required to be involved in local government. He said he was about working for people on the ground.

Raj Kumar - said he was a good listener and recognised the over 65 age group as the most influential voting block. He said he wanted free parking in the CBD and was not in favour of "expensive makeovers in the CBD but zilch in the suburbs".

Tania Tapsell - said people were the greatest assets to a community and good leaders put people first. She said she stood for families, finance and the future.

Haydn Marriner - said he was about positive policies including doing up the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre and bringing more events to the CBD.

Leonie Pritchard - said she was frustrated at some of the changes in the last term, including the cycleway and changes to public transport. She wants to work towards building a thriving city and "genuinely believes in the power of collective wisdom".

Janet Wepa - said she was committed, experienced and knew how to work with others. She listed some of her accomplishments in the last term and said she wanted to make Rotorua a better place for the city's children and grandchildren. "I will work for you as I always have."

Charlie Windell - said he chose Rotorua as his home and wanted to be part of a change in council. One of his points was calling for term limits of councillors to bring a mix of old and new. "Rotorua is a great place to live - we've got to keep it great".

John Dyer - said if elected he would review council spending, concentrate on core services and ensure better consultation. He focused on debt and would bring three things to the table - experience, priorities and financial responsibility.

Charles Sturt - said the challenges ahead were not sexy, including sewage disposal, but was honoured to be a long-standing councillor and stood behind the Te Arawa Partnership. "We have been led by a lady uniting us, not dividing us."

Mark Gould - said his attendance at council and committee meetings was unparalleled and stressed that it was more important than ever to vote. "I will work tirelessly to benefit the city.

David Waru - said he knew all about business and believed the older generation possessed the wisdom of age. "We have to always be looking forward".