Cheers, jeers and even a yellow card were dealt to
mayoral and council hopefuls at the often entertaining end to
a two-night election forum in Opoho last night.
Issues such as oil and gas exploration, the proposed
waterfront hotel development, fluoridation and public
transport were discussed in front of more than 100 voters at
the Opoho Presbyterian Church.
The hotel drew the biggest reaction, with many of the 17
council hopefuls welcoming the investment but not at its
current height or proposed location.
However, deputy mayor Chris Staynes said that provided the
backers could meet the resource consent, he supported the
27-storey hotel, as the ''city needs to think about its
Olivier Lequeux said the city needed jobs but then picked up
the only yellow card of the night - ruling him out of
answering a question - when he bizarrely pointed out the
percentage of people in the audience with grey hair.
Cr Richard Thomson said the hotel was the wrong size in the
wrong place and it was a ''tragedy'' the developers did not
engage with the council in advance to seek an appropriate
Kevin Neill said 8000 homes had been doorknocked and 11,000
people spoken to as part of his campaign and he found the
majority of people liked the idea of the hotel, just not the
height or location.
Cr Lee Vandervis supported oil and gas exploration. He said
he had witnessed the transformation that industry delivered
for New Plymouth.
Regarding jobs, Francisco Hernandez said the city's youth
unemployment rate was ''unacceptable'' and he called for more
investment in training and a focus on creating smart, clean
''I want to support young people by giving us a voice in
Cr Jinty MacTavish said the council now held fewer meetings
behind closed doors, and was proud of the development of the
strategic cycle network and work on an energy plan.
Andrew Whiley said he and his family had come from Vancouver
a decade ago and while the Canadian city was regarded as
world class, ''Dunedin has that and more''.
''The problem is we don't appreciate it.''
David Benson-Pope, after praising the council for its work on
the Otago Peninsula and the Toitu Settlers Museum, contrasted
that investment with a neglect of the central city.
Neville Peat said he would like 25,000 more people in the
city, and the council needed to develop a compact city with
the provision to build upwards rather than sprawl on to the
peninsula or the food-producing area of the Taieri.
Tom Ross wanted more use made of Forsyth Barr Stadium - ''why
aren't we promoting this wonderful venue?'' - while
criticising spending on Toitu and the Dunedin Town Hall.
Warren Voight said he was concerned the city was becoming a
''regional backwater'' with its declining primary industry,
high city debt and youth unemployment.
Cr Teresa Stevenson spoke of her values and her consistency
on the council.
''I give a voice to the more marginalised, to the unemployed,
to the people struggling in business, to the not so well
In a light-hearted moment, Tat Loo asked people for their
second preference vote by encouraging the audience to ''Tat
two thank you''.