Stratford voters have a choice of three candidates for mayor this year. Over the next few weeks, the three candidates, Rawinia Henderson, Graham Kelly and Neil Volzke, will answer a range of questions set by the Stratford Press editorial team. Their answers will run online and in print.
To hear the candidates speak and answer more questions, come along to the Newstalk ZB and Stratford Press Meet the Candidates evening on September 18 at the Stratford War Memorial Centre at 6.30pm.
This week, we asked the three candidates the following questions:
1. What do you think is the worst decision Council has made in the past 10 years? Why?
2. If elected, what are your short-term goals as mayor to achieve in the first year of office?
The candidates answer below:
What do you think is the worst decision Council has made in the past 10 years? Why?
We cannot change the past, we can only move forward and plan ahead ensuring minimal negative impact on our community.
Not foreseeing the future of what forestry will do to our roads. The impact will be devastating to the back country roads.
There is no single decision that I can label the worst, but one decision I truly regret is that council didn't proceed with the residential subdivision much sooner than we did. The delays should have been overcome. There was clearly a need some years earlier and the delay in pushing this project back has denied some people the opportunity to build new homes in Stratford and has resulted in some of them building elsewhere. With 20-20 hindsight, I would describe this as a missed opportunity, but one we will correct somewhat when the new subdivision sections become available in the coming weeks.
If elected, what are your short-term goals as mayor to achieve in the first year of office?
Immediate goal – Review the LTP and try to resolve some of the key issues facing our council and community and ensuring we are on track to completing these tasks within their allocated timeframes. Consult with NZTA about plans to improve the road quality of SH43. Meet all my mayoral obligations to both community and council and provide a smooth transition.
Strive to make Stratford the town that it once was. Invite suggestion and participation from the community.
There's plenty to do. Firstly the Mayor needs to bring together the new council, appoint committees etc, orientate new councillors and complete other administrative tasks.
My short-term goals are to complete residential subdivision project, get the sections sold and see some houses being built. I'm also keen to progress the new pool design, choose the location and get construction underway.
In recent years I have been heavily involved in the lobbying to continue the push for improvements to SH43 and in particular, the sealing of 12km of the Tangarakau Gorge. We are now at the point where we need some agreements, firm commitments and actions to turn the years of talking into actual roadworks. That is both a short-term and long-term goal for me.
Other Long Term Plan projects already agreed to include the development of Prospero Place, the children's bike park, the district plan review and other projects all need to be advanced, and it is the role of the Mayor to move these things along.