It's one year out from the next local body elections. Reporter Alice Guy asks incumbent councillors about the year ahead.

Deputy mayor Dave Donaldson

Will you run again in 2019?

Undecided.

Deputy mayor Dave Donaldson
Deputy mayor Dave Donaldson

What do you personally feel you've achieved over the last two years on the council?

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The council's achievements result from teamwork backed by political courage. I've focused on leadership and partnerships, particularly in the area of economic development. Like several of my colleagues, I have made it a priority to support the mayor with the heavy schedule of stakeholders wishing to engage with our progressive council.

What direction would you like Rotorua to take in the future?
Certainly out to 2022, while retaining Council's AA- credit rating, I want Rotorua-Inc to hold fast to delivering on Vision 2030, leveraging our key strengths tatau tatau! The recent PGF funding announcements confirm my belief Rotorua is on the cusp of something quite transformational and special for our future generations.

Mark Gould
Mark Gould

Mark Gould

Will you run again in 2019?

Yes.

What do you personally feel you've achieved over the last two years on the council?
Supporting the local communities by asking the questions other councillors won't or don't ask. Things like putting additional money into mountain biking and investing in areas like opening up Tarawera Rd for more development.

What direction would you like Rotorua to take in the future?
We have to be very careful about growth as the infrastructure costs a lot of money. It would be great to see more flights coming into Rotorua with Air New Zealand, especially at times that suit clients. I would also like to see more footpaths in the urban area.

Karen Hunt
Karen Hunt

Karen Hunt

Will you run again in 2019?

Undecided.

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What do you personally feel you've achieved over the last two years on the council?
I have championed projects that will make Rotorua a truly "Liveable City" including restoring the museum, improving access to the Redwoods, enhancing the Lakefront and Kuirau Park. I supported the Long-term Plan which clearly articulates the aspirations of a wide cross-section of our residents. I am the chairwoman of the Alcohol Licencing and RMA Policy Committees.

What direction would you like Rotorua to take in the future?
Rotorua must continue to innovate or be left behind. Our future and our children's futures depend on it - including building modern infrastructure, new homes and creating a city for young professionals, families and the ageing population. Rotorua must continue to position itself the premier tourist destination in the North Island.

Rob Kent
Rob Kent

Rob Kent

Will you run again in 2019?

Undecided.

What do you personally feel you've achieved over the last two years on the council?
Not nearly as much as I could have had I any support from other councillors. I am a lone voice when it comes to arresting rate rises and sky-rocketing debt, being the only councillor to vote against the LTP that will increase debt by $100 million-plus, and against rate increases.

What direction would you like Rotorua to take in the future?
Rotorua is progressing but at what cost to ratepayers? The excuse of progress (that would have happened anyway, given the overheated Auckland market) is an excuse to spend up large. A return to responsible financial management and living within ones' means will not leave our mokopuna saddled with unrepayable debt.

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Raj Kumar
Raj Kumar

Raj Kumar

Will you run again in 2019?

Undecided.

What do you personally feel you've achieved over the last two years on the council?
As the only new councillor chosen at large I haven't waited for time to take my point across. I have agreed to disagree on matters I've thought may not be good for the city of Rotorua. It is premature to say what I've achieved as only the people whom I represent or listen to can be the judge of what value I've brought to this position. I do enjoy the role but understand that there are frustrations at times.

What direction would you like Rotorua to take in the future?
I want to see growth in Rotorua balanced with careful infrastructure spending. I'm not here to be in anyone's good books but represent the whole of Rotorua however trivial the matter is. A better Rotorua for all.

Trevor Maxwell
Trevor Maxwell

Trevor Maxwell

Will you run again in 2019?

Yes.

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What do you personally feel you've achieved over the last two years on the council?
With a positive team of councillors and the mayor, I believe I have achieved much with the opening of Te Aka Mauri, the formation of the Te Arawa partnership, and seeing Rotorua become the first bilingual city in New Zealand. We have also secured large government funding for the Lakefront development and the Whakarewarewa Forest development.

What direction would you like Rotorua to take in the future?
Continue supporting the Rotorua Way, through Vision 2030 (outstanding places to play, vibrant city heart, a resilient community, homes that match needs, business innovation and prosperity, employment choices and enhanced environment). I look forward to seeing the reopening of the Rotorua Museum and the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre.

Merepeka Raukawa-Tait
Merepeka Raukawa-Tait

Merepeka Raukawa-Tait

Will you run again in 2019?

Yes

What do you personally feel you've achieved over the last two years on the council?

I have supported the future-focused direction of the council under mayor Chadwick. We are making up for lost time after years of just limping along. I have actively engaged with a far wider range of community members than ever before. They are happy with what they see but they are also voicing their concerns around significant social issues. There is the expectation that I can help in this area.

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What direction would you like Rotorua to take in the future?

I want to support the council to continue to grow of our local economy but more needs to be done to focus on people. Those who lack suitable housing, have little or low incomes, significant health issues and poor job training opportunities. Rather than help people live better on a benefit I would rather work hard to get them off benefits and in control of their own lives. The council can do much to facilitate positive change in this area.

Charles Sturt
Charles Sturt

Charles Sturt

Will you run again in 2019?

Yes.

What do you personally feel you've achieved over the last two years on the council?

Being an elected councillor isn't about personal achievement, however as a team listening collectively to our people by arranging the 2030 vision, district plan and 10-year long-term plans. These give a blueprint of where our ratepayers and locals want Rotorua to head into the future with the economic, business and residential growth we are experiencing.

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What direction would you like Rotorua to take in the future?
Rotorua is soundly positioned to meet the challenges that growth is demanding on council services, infrastructure and legislative obligations. The sewering of all lakeside communities, extending recycling with green waste service, Lakefront enhancement, debt management etc. are priorities which change annually and depend on affordability. My experience is what I offer.

Tania Tapsell
Tania Tapsell

Tania Tapsell

Will you run again in 2019?

Yes.

What do you personally feel you've achieved over the last two years on the council?
Our families and the state of the environment in which we live and play has been my priority. As well as putting families first in all council policy discussions, I 've also led a noticeable growth in sustainable practices such as kerbside recycling which resulted in a 170 per cent increase in recyclables within our district.

What direction would you like Rotorua to take in the future?
My vision is Rotorua will be a place where families can access good jobs, quality community facilities, and own their own home. Resilience for the future starts with us now. We need to invest in quality infrastructure to meet current growth needs while maintaining and protecting our environment for future generations.

Peter Bentley
Peter Bentley

Peter Bentley

Did not respond by deadline.

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