This was the fourth, largest and last, held in the Waikanae Memorial Hall, and about 200 locals braved the rain to hear 26 of the 37 candidates standing for the different seats.
The meeting organisers had put set questions in the agenda, but not all candidates addressed them. Mayoral candidates were given 5 minutes initial talk time, the others 3 minutes. A hat was then passed along the candidates with supplementary questions, of which they took one each and spoke for a minute. The other candidates were then given the opportunity to say simply whether they agreed or disagreed.
All the Mayoral candidates were there except Jackie Elliott who was blocked in by water. Then about half of the District-wide candidates were next.
Two of the four Waikanae Ward candidates — Geoffrey Churchman and Iride McCloy — followed. Michael Scott had sent a written statement which the MC read out.
All three GWRC candidates for the Kapiti seat were there (they had not been mentioned on the leaflet) and gave their speeches.
Last, but by no means least, were 7 of the 9 Waikanae Community Board candidates. Absent were Jill Lloyd (still on an overseas holiday) and Eric Gregory (no explanation).
Regional Councilor Nigel Wilson told Geoffrey Churchman before the start that the community boards should be the ‘coal face’ of community interaction with the council, the main forum for citizens to bring their local issues and concerns to. The chairmen of the boards and the Ward councilors should then take those concerns to the council meetings which in turn should instruct the CEO to make the wanted actions happen. Too often it is all in the other direction.
As mentioned earlier, Waikanae’s Community Board members have come under particular criticism for lack of communication and a collective nonchalant attitude to their role. Geoffrey Churchman told Michael Scott last year that more pro-activity and much better communication with citizens were needed — but that message hasn’t been heeded.