As of Friday, just five candidates had officially declared their candidacy for Rangitikei District Council in this October's election.

In the Bulls ward, current first-term councillor Tim Harris is having another tilt at the two-seat ward. Keeping debt as low as possible was a key issue for the council.

Mr Harris said the council had managed to stay basically debt free in all its incarnations over the years but its Long Term Plan forecasted a big increase in debt. "It may not get that far but we've got to be careful.

We're in the top three councils in New Zealand for debt to population. We just need to be mindful going forward that we don't over capitalise in all these buildings," Mr Harris said. "It's not about our generation. We're only caretakers for the next generation. I'm passionate about the community and I've got a bit of skin in the game."


In Taihape, Ruth Rainey is also seeking a second term and one of three local seats.
"I've only done three years and I think you do quite a bit of learning in the first three years," she said.

She was relatively happy with how her first term had gone.
"I've quite enjoyed it. I think that we've got a reasonably good council and we're reasonably fiscally prudent. I've always thought that's my job. Just to keep an eye on the spending."

She said getting Marton wastewater treatment plant compliance and funding the new civic centre in Bulls were major issues for the upcoming term.

In the four-seat Marton ward, Rob Snijders is the only non-councillor in the running so far, while Lynne Sheridan and Nigel Belsham are both seeking re-election.

Mr Belsham said his first term had been a learning experience and the council had set a lot up for the next three years.

"This coming term we've got some reasonable spending in the district as far as civic buildings go," he said. "Those funds are capped but I want to make sure we keep at those levels but also I'd like to see progress."

Mr Belsham said getting the best out of the shared service deal with Manawatu and sorting out issues with leachate from Bonny Glen and the Marton wastewater treatment plant would be important issues. The Hunterville and Turakina wards (one seat each) are yet to receive a nomination.

The Chronicle will speak to other Rangitikei candidates throughout the week.