Turver Challenges Rowan

Mayoral Race on the Kapiti Coast Turns Exciting — Ex-contender Switches Horses in Election Race

By Alan Tristram
July 17, 2010

The political temperature on the Kapiti Coast has just gone through the roof with the surprise announcement by Chris Turver that he will fight Jenny Rowan — and give up his campaign for the Regional Council seat.

The coming  election once  looked like a shoo-in for Mayor Rowan, who defeated Mr Turner in the last Mayoral race.

And earlier in the year, Mr Turver said he would stand again for his old seat on the Greater Wellington Regional Council, now held by Nigel Wilson.

It’s understood Mr Turver has the backing of an important business lobby, One Kapiti, which is strongly pro-development.

The present Mayor has strong ‘sustainability’ and social welfare credentials and has impressed a huge number of locals with her approachability and work ethic.

But three big local issues have erupted over the past year and could cause her major headaches:

  • The new Expressway, with which the Government scuppered Rowan-backed plans for an ec0-friendly Western Link Road
  • A huge rate rise at a time when many Kapiti people are feeling the pinch
  • An aborted proposal from Ms Rowan  to persuade Electra to divert some of its refund payments to a ‘community chest’

In his election statement, Chris Turver says:

“I have decided to stand for Mayor of Kapiti to offer a down-to-earth leadership choice in how the District is run and how it faces the future.

“The focus will be on getting the priorities right, value for ratepayer money, and creating a positive climate for growth and job opportunities.”

Mr Turver, who had intended to stand again for Greater Wellington Regional Council, says the final straw was to see the Mayor and Councillors increase rates by almost 7.0 percent – and give the growing staff of 261 a pay rise of 3.5 percent.

“This failure to recognise reality comes at a time when New Zealand is still struggling through a recession and growth in Kapiti has slowed to a crawl – with less income to support our families.”

He says instead of concentrating ratepayer money on core business and supporting opportunities to stimulate job growth, the KCDC has spread its income too thinly over too many activities and allowed its operational costs to get out of hand.

“That means it now has an unhealthy reliance on a high level of borrowing in uncertain times to meet its promises – and the chances of reducing rates are slim under the present regime,”says Mr Turver.

The first priority would be a stock-take of the KCDC’s short and long term commitments because ratepayers have a right to be kept informed on what’s happening with their money.

Mr Turver says as Mayor he would offer leadership based on a good dose of realism, put the running of the Council on a firm business-like footing, and concentrate on Kapiti’s basic priorities.

As Kapiti’s regional councillor for nine years he chaired several committees, ran successful business operations in the commercial world, and would bring that experience to the KCDC.

He says the out-going Council is fundamentally flawed in trying to be all things to all people instead of delivering essential priorities.

Mr Turver says in deciding to stand for Mayor, he has been heartened by the calibre of new Council candidates with commonsense and commitment who could end years of bickering and divisiveness and help build a professional organisation.

PROFILE – CHRIS TURVER

Personal:

Married with two adult sons

Runs cattle on a small farm in Te Horo

Justice of the Peace

Currently:

Part-time executive officer of the Wave & Tidal Energy Association, working to harness the power of the sea to produce electricity from either underwater tidal generators or surface wave generators around the coast of New Zealand.

Chairman of Electra Trust

National Executive member, Energy Trusts of New Zealand

Patron, Kapiti Coastguard

Executive member, Otaki RSA

Management Committee member, Te Horo Rural Fire Force

Formerly:

Greater Wellington Regional Council for Kapiti for nine years, re-elected twice unopposed, and chairman of the passenger transport committee, environment committee, and resource consent hearing committee

Kapiti’s elected member on Capital & Coast District Health Board for three years

Chief Executive, Royal New Zealand Coastguard Federation for five years

Corporate Communications Manager for the NZ Police for five years

General Manager News, Current  Affairs & Sport with Radio New Zealand for eight years

RNZ Political Editor, Press Gallery, Parliament, for five years

Chris Turver has only been off the blocks for a week, and already lacks credibility and judgement. First he backs the Kapiti One group, who look set to bring another dose of negative energy to the District (just what we don’t need). Then he tells us he’s not standing for Mayor and engages in the longest political orgasm on record, while he announces, to no-ones surprise, that he’s changed his mind. Then he tells us the KCDC staff numbers have risen by nearly 100 in the last 3 years, when the real figure is only 11 and all this from the man who brought us the Sandhills Motorway! I’ll be supporting Jenny Rowan, she’s intelligent, friendly, hard working and has done a great job for Kapiti in difficult circumstances.

I’m glad to support Jenny Rowan again. She has maintained her dignity and kept to common sense decision making despite the vitriolic and ridiculous attacks made on her throughout her term of office.

So we have Tweedledee or Tweedledum to chose from. They are both the same, they tell whom ever they are talking to what they think the listener wants to hear.
They are both shallow self centered fools … just perfect for Kapiti, as the electorate is equally as selfish.

Go Chris!

I voted for Jenny Rowan last time, and have been stunned by the manner in which she has managed to devastate our District in such a short period of time. From firing the chief executive to trying to take away my electra rebate, she has demonstrated time and time again that she simply does not have the leadership skills Kapiti needs.

I am so pleased to see another candidate enter the race – I would sooner vote for a garden gnome than support Jenny again.

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