Jeremy Smith reports that rates, rubbish collection, council housing and the cost of consultants were the hot topics when KCDC council hopefuls answered questions at Paraparaumu’s senior citizen’s centre.
The 11 candidates were vying for five at-large spots as district councillors, or the two seats as Paraparaumu-Raumati ward reps.
When local identity Dale Evans asked about the level of council rates, and debt, current councillor Angela Bushwell said controlling the council’s debt levels was not a quick fix.
She noted that local schools were bursting at the seams and work would have to be done on rising water tables.
Storm water upgrades ahead too
Another current councillor and mayoral candidate Jackie Elliott said cheaper interest rates might take some pressure off council debt levels. But she said big money would have to be spent on storm water upgrades.
Former Regional councillor Chris Turver also noted how strong population growth would put pressure on council costs. Turver said Kapiti had a minimal commercial rating base and faced costs from government-imposed pressures.
First time council hopeful Asher Wilson-Goldman was worried about the impact of climate change and how the looming completion of Transmission Gully could bring extra people into Kapiti.
Housing and climate change
Two term councillor and “playing- through” deputy mayor Janet Holborow listed housing and climate change as major issues.
Former councillor Kathy Spiers, a sitting Paraparaumu-Raumati Community Board member said the KCDC needed a rates review and also needed a hard look at consultancy costs.
Her example was $30,000 costs for the McLean Park development which could have been avoided by drawing on the community’s own expertise.
Consultancy costs raised again
Consultancy costs came up again from another former regional councillor Nigel Wilson, GW’s Kapiti representative for nine years until the 2016 election.
Wilson’s specific proposal was one he brought from his GWC experience… making each councillor a portfolio holder for a specific area or issue.
Another first-time contender Paraparaumu’s Marcia Johnson supported the portfolio proposal. She also wanted Kapiti to retain the qualities which brought her to the district 30 years earlier.
Strongest reaction on rubbish
The strongest reaction and loudest clapping were after a questioner who deplored the privatisation of Kapiti’s rubbish collection.
Nigel Wilson said taking the rubbish collection away from the council was an appalling mistake.
Audience member Bruce Taylor of Waikanae asked if any candidates would allow the sale of any council social housing, Reikorangi man Murray Fosdyke was the only one to say he would not make this commitment.
The Labour man
The only candidate standing under a specific party banner, Labour’s Rob McCann said many of the problems people faced, particularly housing were wider than Kapiti.
McCann was Labour’s unsuccessful candidate for the Otaki electorate two years ago.
The first speaker was former Paraparaumu Beach business owner Mark Halliday, standing both for mayor and ward councillor. Halliday stood unsuccessfully three years ago.
The secret candidate?
Halliday who had an advertising slogan at the back of the room — behind the public — did not say who he was.
Missing from the Friday presentation were sitting councillors David Scott, Mike Cardiff and Mark Benton, and Paraparaumu ward hopeful Bernie Randall.
Waikanae residents will be able to question candidates next Tuesday at 10am in the Ngaio Road Presbyterian church.