Big turnout for election meeting

Candidate Liesel Mitchell addresses last night’s Opoho Presbyterian Church Dunedin City Council...
Candidate Liesel Mitchell addresses last night’s Opoho Presbyterian Church Dunedin City Council candidates’ meeting, chaired by Philip Somerville (left). Photos: Gregor Richardson.
Dunedin City Council candidates entertained and informed a capacity  audience which packed the Opoho Presbyterian Church last night.

There are so many candidates the election forum has been split into two parts; the second session will be held tonight.

Last night candidates with surnames from J to W shared their views on topics ranging from their stance on oil and gas exploration off the Otago coast to their favourite films, in front of an audience of about 140.

Meeting chairman Philip Somerville opened the floor to each candidate for two minutes, a hunter’s electronic stag caller was used to drone out any candidate who did not finish when signalled.

About 140 people attended.
About 140 people attended.
While some candidates,  including Liesel Mitchell, David Murray and Damian Newell, used the slot to introduce themselves and their policies to the audience, others such as Lee Vandervis and Chris Staynes drew on previous council experience in  their talks.

Sentiments including a love of Dunedin, its people and the outdoors were shared by most candidates.

Candidates also found common ground on favourite book and film choices, with Star Wars and the Lee Child series proving to be popular favourites.

Most candidates supported a cautious approach to the development of the Mosgiel Pool, while Lee Vandervis and Joshua Perry were the only candidates who said their position on rates aligned with a rates freeze for several years.

During a quick-fire question round Mike Lord said he did not think about what the worst things about Dunedin were.

"I don’t do negativity; there probably are things, [but]  they just don’t bother me."

The city’s seeming inability to market itself on a greater scale, and a sense of "negativity" about what could be achieved by the city were common answers given to the question.

The question  what political party a candidate voted for in the last election received varying responses, some drawing hoots of a laughter from the audience.

Marie Laufiso said she did not vote in  2013,  while Paul Pope said it was a "really personal question".

Departing Dunedin City Councillor Jinty MacTavish was named as one of the best current city councillors by the majority of the candidates.


Why did Philip go as a Jacobin? Is guillotining on the way?



Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter