Kapiti Speakers’ Corner brought forth another surprise this weekend when the third speaker,Jackie Elliott, hinted that she would take on Jennie Rowan (and others) for the Mayoralty later this year. She made an unannounced speech after two other contenders, Cr K Gurunathan and Gavin Welsh.
Ms Elliott, who led the widely-supported anti-water meter campaign on the Kapiti Coast, has long been a thorn in the Council’ flesh — and has drawn several sharp rebukes from Mayor Rowan.
However, in spite of intense official disapproval, she scored a major coup earlier this year by getting elected to a vacancy on the Otaki Community Board.
Surprise speech and a surprising announcement
Ms Elliott was making a surprise speech at the first Speakers’ Corner to be held at the Paraparaumu Beach Market — after deciding late in the week to attend. She was severely critical of the Kapiti Coast Council’s performance and policies.
And, later, in an exclusive release for the Kapiti Independent, she explained why she is standing:
“It is the realization of a lifetime dream to announce my candidacy for what could be ‘the last Mayor of Kapiti.’ I have already announced I am standing as a district wide Councillor, however I feel I could do better for the Kapiti Coast.
“I believe, in the face of future amalgamation decisions, my role as a Mayor will be caretaking, keeping a clear common sense head, with no think big infrastructure investment except to proceed with the delayed dam construction timeline promised at the last election.“
Ms Elliott was one of three Mayoral candidates who spoke to a good- sized crown at the Beach Market. The others were Gavin Welsh (right), a local farrier and former NCO in the Queen’s Household Cavalry, and Councillor K Gurunathan (Guru) who is a ward councillor for Paraparaumu ward on the KCDC.
Mayor declines invite to speak
Mayor Rowan declined an invitation to attend, saying she felt it wasn’t the right time to campaign.
Another contender, Cr Ross Church, had another commitment. However, the organisers, Kapiti Friends of Free Speech, have invited him to speak on Saturday, June 15.
The new venue provided a good backdrop for the speakers, with a number of interjections and questions for the candidates.
Elliott wants dam — and soon
Ms Elliott also repeated her alternative plan to deal with Kapiti’s perennial water problems.
“I believe, in the face of future amalgamation decisions, my role as Mayor will be care-taking,m keeping a clear commonsense head, with no think-big infrastructure investment except to proceed with the delayed dam construction timetable promised at the last election.
“And I am dismayed that ratepayers face a possible $24.5 million bill for legal action from those affected by the Coastal Erosion Report.
“As this issue has un folded, I have always felt it could have been far m ore prudently resolved; ie by removing the lines (coastal reports demarcation lines).”