What do your candidates think?

Are they for or against fluoride?

Do they think Waipā is being run well?

What do they make of the Voices for Freedom Movement which is offering to support candidates and who are members of the movement.

The News’ exclusive coverage of the 2022 local body elections will ramp up next week as we provide answers to some of those questions.

We are talking to the 40 candidates chasing 21 district seats. Four want to be mayor, including Bernard Westerbaan who has also put his name forward for the council and the Te Awamutu-Kihikihi Community Board.

Two others – Les Bennett in Maungatautari and James Parlane in Te Awamutu – are also having a bob each way going for council and community board.

Kane Titchener is elected unopposed as the Kakepuku member on the Te Awamutu Community Board. He was the only sitting member not challenged.

Watch out for more in next week’s edition of The News.

Some candidates are actively chasing publicity and votes, others – as happened three years ago when actually making contact with at least one candidate presented a challenge – appear to be doing very little.

Incumbent mayor Jim Mylchreest has no online presence, of his rivals Bernard Westerbaan has also not added to his Facebook profile but Susan O’Regan and Chris Woodhams have both opened accounts promoting themselves.

On the back of a quiet build up to the close of nominations, some candidates have also been slow off the mark to get their advertising signs up – but the number of signs was steadily increasing this week.

National media, which is supported by Government funding, continues to pick low hanging fruit in the elections – one of the country’s biggest newspapers, the New Zealand Herald, didn’t run a significant story about nominations closing the day before and stories run by national media since then have focussed on unusual candidate stories rather than major issues.

In the case of Waipā, sitting councillors and senior staff are in no doubt there are major issues for incoming councils to confront – notably changes in the Resource Management Act which will have a major impact on what the height and density of new builds – [MG8] and the Three waters issue.

That is one area where it’s likely the four mayoral candidates will agree on, and Mylchreest has been vocal in opposing the Government’s plans.

 

 

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