COMMENT

The Rotorua Chamber is an apolitical organisation and the views represented in this column are those of myself as the chief executive.

I acknowledge that it must be challenging to be a politician. Politicians put themselves out there and are open to public and media scrutiny. Therefore, it is great to have such a large number of candidates standing for office this election.

Thank you all for wanting to make a difference.

Advertisement

One of the noticeable aspects of this election is the nature of our present local body politics in Rotorua.

It is normal and healthy to be passionate about our city and what we believe is best for it. It is also normal to have these viewpoints to be put to us more directly at election time.

It appears to me that many of the candidates seem to be representing two broad viewpoints. One is driven by seeking investment and is not afraid to debt-finance future growth, and the other more about debt reduction, cost and rating control.

Independent views will likely emerge as the campaign progresses.

I personally believe we can have the best of everything, prudent debt, economic growth and cost/rating control, if we adopt a balanced approach.

To achieve this outcome, Rotorua would benefit from free, diverse, independent thinking by the incoming council. A great council would operate in a positive culture of open and honest debate, where dissenting views are embraced, and worked through to agreed outcomes.

Once outcome decisions are reached, the great council would then all support and drive implementation of the decisions. This is what I personally would love to see, and to achieve this, we will need a diverse range of backgrounds in the incoming council, issues driven discussion and constructive debating skills.

Therefore, I ask all 38 candidates to share your personal views from your hearts and be proud to say what you honestly stand for. Become a councillor for our city because "you are you".

Advertisement

To this end the Chamber is hosting two free public forums at the Holiday Inn on Froude St, Whakarewarewa.

They are:

• Meet the 38 Candidates on Wednesday, 11 September 2019 from 5pm – 7pm
• Meet the Mayoral Candidates on Thursday, 19 September 2019 from 5pm – 7pm

Everyone is welcome to attend to hear what our future councillors and mayor have to say. A cash bar will be available. Please come along and make your contribution to Rotorua's future by exercising your vote carefully.

- Bryce Heard is the Rotorua Business Chamber chief executive