Three of the best

Martin Visser, you were a breath of fresh air. Thanks so much for your contribution to council over the last three years.

As for Sue Westwood's amazing contribution, it is unlikely to be matched in the future.

Annette Main, you can't please everyone and you have done your best, with public and private challenges. I haven't always agreed with you, but you can feel very proud of your fantastic contribution to this city.

At the end of the day, we can only do our best. Kia kaha and may you all travel hopefully.



Protest report

I am writing to express my disappointment in the lack of factual reporting in the article of the protest which took place outside the Union Boat Club building during the visit of the Prime Minister on Taupo Quay last Friday.

Your reporter states that the protesters were a crowd of anti-TPP protesters while, in fact, there were quite a number of individuals who were there to vent their own frustrations about Government policies that have affected them and their families adversely.

Also stated in the article is that the protesters were carrying sticks, which is not true.

There were a large variety of placards conveying important concerns, yet your reporter only chose to mention one.

Yes, it was a noisy protest, as protests usually are, but it is not correct that this gathering were only anti-TPP protesters. Individuals from the community turned up to vent their frustrations.

I feel the Chronicle owes anti-TPP protesters an apology for misrepresenting us on this occasion. ( Edited)


Party allegiance

I find myself agreeing with Paul Brooks' editorial (Chronicle, August 28) regarding local authority candidates declaring if they belong to any political party. It certainly is a factor that voters need to be aware of.

Having worked in a local authority in a management role for 5 years and as a regional councillor for 6 years, I think I have some experience and knowledge on the subject. Most voters certainly see changes in people that get voted in and may wonder why the hell did they get sucked in when their appointed candidate starts "going sideways and starts spending ratepayers' money like the world was about to end". But it's too late to withdraw your vote.

When standing as a regional councillor, I had a clear written agenda which was my bottom line on everything that came before me, e.g. non-essential items never got out of the starting blocks. Very soon I realised I was in constant conflict with "greenies and closet greenies" who wanted to squander millions of ratepayers' money on green education, a non-legislative matter.

Yes Paul, that was my own personal experience, so it was refreshing to see two Horizons candidates include in their five-point policy statement: "We do not believe in party politics and have self-funded our election campaign".

Not sure what party the other two candidates represent and if they are prepared to declare their allegiance or political leanings. That's their call.

With headlines like "Better to know political leanings", I wonder if Paul Brooks would agree with me that sentiment should be extended to Chronicle media columns. What does "fermenter and gardener" convey to readers of a person's political leanings? At least one Chronicle columnist had a photograph of himself wearing a Green Party T-shirt, so I guess that was a clue. Maybe the Chronicle could lead change in this area. Great to have a level playing field.


Diversity is good

Bob Walker has been busy writing letters about me standing for Horizons, and I thought it was time for a reply.

My professional background is environmental management and community engagement, plus I bring a fresh modern perspective working in social enterprise. Yes, I'm younger at 43 and -- last time I checked -- a woman.

More diversity around the Horizons is not a scary thing. The current make-up is two women out of 12. The private sector is pushing for more diversity in governance because research shows greater success in business -- it's the same for local government.

Mr Walker is proud of cutting environmental education during his time on Horizons -- that isn't what voters who are concerned about the environment want, especially with what's happening with water in Hawke's Bay and beyond.

Nominating your successor is not how democracy is meant to work, Mr Walker. And debate isn't the same as dysfunction -- I'm ready to work with the whole council team to find common ground for the good of the community.

Finally, thanks to those who are supporting candidates in the election -- this shouldn't be only for those with the money.


Nicola Patrick is a candidate for Horizons Regional Council in the October elections.

Annette's legacy

I would like to add my appreciation and best wishes to Annette Main, who is stepping down as mayor shortly.

Mayor Annette has worked tirelessly for the community over her two terms with many significant achievements she can rightfully be proud of.

Regrettably, her legacy is more likely to be remembered for the wastewater treatment plant debacle, and the impact on our rates and debt her council's poor decisions on this issue will have for decades.

This key decision should have been left to the new council, and scaremongering of $10,000 per day fines is baseless -- there is still plenty of time to build a new plant by December 31, 2018, which is the timeline to be met in the Horizons Regional Council's temporary resource consent.

I am not a qualified wastewater engineer, but I have been talking to some who are, and most agree that there are cheaper, more affordable options such as resurrecting the old plant in a modified and improved form, or going with proven technology in the form of a dissolved air flotation plant.

We have already seen rates increase by 30 per cent over the past six years and the council 10-year plan predicts even larger increases. Our rates imposition on the community is already among the highest in the country and we cannot continue to impose these increases on residents and business, making Whanganui unaffordable to live and do business in.

Also concerning are the broken relationships between Whanganui District Council and some big businesses, including Affco.

Affco Imlay's local plant manager was quoted in the Chronicle in June as saying: "Consultation on the WWTP has been token at best" and he also said that agreeing to council demands of 100 per cent increase to their waste discharge costs would put the future viability of Affco Imlay at risk.

As with any disagreement, there is bound to be fault on both sides, but if Affco Imlay were to close, Whanganui risks becoming another Patea.


Andy Jarden is a mayoral candidate in the October local body election.