Candidates’ late bid for votes
TE AWAMUTU WARD candidates for Waipa District Council who fronted to patrons at Redoubt Bar and Eatery on Tuesday night, from left: Anthony Campbell, George Simmons, Michael Cox, Graham Jull, Ken Hagan (standing), Hazel Barnes and Brett Watson. 277071AD
With just over a week remaining for voters to return their choices for this year’s local government election, just over 14% of Te Awamutu voting papers have been received by returning officers.
There is only one reason for voters to not return their papers - apathy. The recent practice of including a profile of each candidate with voting papers means no Waipa elector can hide behind ‘lack of familiarity with candidates’ as reason for letting others choose their local government representatives.
Competition has been fierce in Te Awamutu ward of Council, with 10 candidates jostling for the four available seats (one more seat than for previous Waipa elections).
A greater number of candidate forums have been held in Te Awamutu for this year’s election, but that and the high number of candidates has yet to translate into a higher voter ‘turnout’.
The ‘meet the candidates’ at the Redoubt Bar and Eatery Tuesday night saw seven of the Te Awamutu candidates ‘rubbing shoulders with pub patrons’ and provided a contrast to the other more formal forums held. Bar manager Bridie Henderson decided to carry on the idea started by her brother Jacob for the 2004 elections. Jacob, now running The Redoubt in Matamata, is holding a similar event there.
Miss Henderson says it is part of her goal for The Redoubt to be involved in the community and ‘more than just a bar’. She says they are also holding a World Cup Final breakfast, Melbourne Cup punters day and are involved in Scream Rosetown festival and Lions Wine and Food Festival.
Candidates had three minutes to introduce themselves and their ideas before the question and answer session.
Miss Henderson, who was MC for the night, says questions about the CBD and trucks in the main street dominated, but youngest candidate Anthony Campbell was also able to field questions about youth issues.
She says it was quite entertaining, as well as informative, and quite a few people had come in for the event and were happy to ask a few tricky questions. A number of the candidates stayed on and many discussions continued.
See Community Board candidate statements, page 6 of today's Courier.
Editor’s advice: vote or ‘forever hold your peace’ (for the next three years at least).