Waikanae Ward candidate Geoffrey Churchman with the microphone, on his right fellow Ward candidate Iride McCloy; on his left the Grey Power MC, then district-wide candidates Emily Boonen and Peter Ellis.  Sitting at the back is the time-keeper.  (Geoffrey says that today plaster casts are synthetic and you get a choice of blue, black, pink or purple.)

About 50 Grey Power members came along this morning to have 10 of the 14 District-wide candidates and 3 of the 4 Waikanae Ward candidates (Michael Scott being the absent one) inform, enlighten and entertain them.

District-wide candidates Angela Buswell and David Scott took seats in the audience as they had already participated in the Mayoral candidates meeting on Wednesday, but they were invited to answer questions regardless.

Mayor Church’s leadership came in for more than a little criticism from candidates, as did the council’s CEO Dougherty.  Apart from the rampant ever-increasing council expenditure, an audience member pointed out that the council had been found by the Ombudsman to be in breach of the Public Records Act, and had until the end of this month to rectify that situation.

A candidate said several council staff have left recently in frustration over Dougherty.

Cr David Scott read a paragraph of a letter he received from Mayor Church saying he was not to talk to council staff, other than the briefest of pleasantries such as “Good morning”.  Good grief…

We were told that Mayor Church sees no problem with the 4.7% rates increase (versus 0.4% inflation) this year; neither does Cr Gavin Welsh who is likewise standing for Mayor.  That, however, was not the view of most of the candidates who spoke today, nor of the audience.

Three minutes initial speaking time each didn’t use up an hour, so there were several audience questions.

The latest issue of the Kapiti Grey Power magazine is devoted to the election with Mayoral candidates getting a full page each and other candidates half a page.