Horowhenua candidates standing for local government elections had the opportunity to address a bumper crowd at an event organised by NZME and the Horowhenua Chronicle on Tuesday evening.

Around 350 people packed Levin's Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō to hear at least 45 candidates vying for their votes as ward councillors, district councillors, community board members, district health board members, regional councillors or mayor.

Topical issues that made an appearance in the statements of many candidates included the proposed expressway, the health of the region's waterways, dealing with growth in the district, the provision of public transport and the environment.

Some speakers also raised the issue of transparency in the district council and the unification and effectiveness of its elected members.


The district's three mayoral candidates, Michael Feyen, Victoria Kaye-Simmons and Bernie Wanden, were allocated five minutes each to speak, before being asked to provide one-sentence answers to questions drawn from a hat.

See the livestream of the mayoral candidates here.

Candidates, including those seeking election to Horizons Regional Council, were allocated a two-minute timeframe in which to make an impression on undecided voters in the audience.

Despite often-inflammatory social media commentary surrounding some aspects of Horowhenua's upcoming local government elections, the large crowd remained courteous to all the speakers and the event, compered by Newstalk ZB's Rob Webb, ran smoothly.

Time restraints and the large number of speakers meant candidates running for more than one position were only allocated one speaking slot, which they were advised of ahead of the event.

Despite this, current mayor Michael Feyen, who is standing for re-election as well as a role on the district health board posted a video shortly after the event stating he believed he should have been able to speak twice as the two roles were completely different.

Audience member Erin Vickers said she found it useful to put a face to a name from the candidate biography material she had seen.

Judy Bolton said it was important to see how candidates interacted with people and that she appreciated particularly when they offered a chance to speak with them further at another time.


"You notice when they go and stand up there how they engage with people," she said.

"Two minutes is hard, but if candidates can get it out to people to come and see them somewhere, to meet for a coffee or something, that's a really good idea."

Another attendee who did not want to be named said she found the meeting extremely useful and "eye-opening".

Voting is now under way for local government elections, which are being held on October 12. For more information click here.