Subdued response to first candidates' forum

The audience listens at a forum of Dunedin mayoral candidates with (from left ) Abe Gray, Jim O'Malley, Cr Andrew Whiley, Mayor Dave Cull, Rachel Elder, meeting chairman Mark McGuire, Cr Aaron Hawkins, Scout Barbour-Evans, Barry Timmings and Athol Bayne.
The audience listens at a forum of Dunedin mayoral candidates with (from left ) Abe Gray, Jim O'Malley, Cr Andrew Whiley, Mayor Dave Cull, Rachel Elder, meeting chairman Mark McGuire, Cr Aaron Hawkins, Scout Barbour-Evans, Barry Timmings and Athol Bayne. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Dunedin's mayoral candidates made a sometimes nervous start as they got their campaigns under way at the first forum of the 2016 election last night.

Nine of 11 candidates turned up to proclaim their interest in sustainability, and their environmental credentials, at an event put on by Sustainable Dunedin, Forest and Bird and Wise Response.

In front of an audience of about 60 people some candidates found themselves a little at sea as they tried to put together cogent arguments.

The audience was also mostly restrained, the odd outbreak of polite clapping and some occasional comments being about as heated as it got.

The meeting began with eight candidates.

Sustainable Dunedin chairwoman Simonne Wood said Conrad Stedman was unable to attend and Cr Lee Vandervis did not respond to the invitation. Candidate Athol Bayne arrived about 40 minutes late.

Chairman Mark McGuire gave candidates three questions, and each spent two minutes answering before the group moved on to the next question.

The questions included one on the Dunedin City Council's role in supporting biodiversity and controlling invasive species, another on the future of public transport and a third on Dunedin's part in New Zealand's commitment to the Paris Climate Change Accord.

Most supported the council taking control of public transport from the Otago Regional Council.

On Dunedin's role in the climate change accord, Rachel Elder said the council needed an energy audit, to encourage such audits elsewhere in the city, and encourage walking, biking and electric cars.

Mayor Dave Cull said an emission inventory was already under way at the council, and targets needed to be adopted once that was complete.

Cr Andrew Whiley said he wanted a sustainability manager and an energy manager at the council. He said 75% of greenhouse gas emissions came from landfills, and that needed to be dealt with.

Jim O'Malley said other city councils picked up compostable waste from homes, and a company in Dunedin built devices to produce methane from such waste for other countries.

He said that technology should be used in Dunedin.

Abe Gray said a mayor should lead by example, and his sustainable lifestyle would allow him to do that, while Aaron Hawkins said he was committed to putting the issue ''front and centre'' for his term on the council.

Scout Barbour-Evans suggested cycleways, electric buses and passenger trains, and ridding the roads of vehicles that used fossil fuels, while Barry Timmings said efficient vehicles and efficient homes would make a difference to energy use.

Mr Bayne said the council needed a five-year plan to get rid of vehicles that ran on fossil fuel.

david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

Comments

So Athol Bayne wants to ban fossil fueled cars within 5 years - now I understand why he arrived 40 minutes late,easily explained if he walked or had to charge his electric car - wish I had been at the meeting and asked what he uses as a vehicle. I don't think every diesel and petrol car bus or truck will be off the Dunedin roads in 5 years, that was a ridiculous statement to make, with no thought at all of the consequences and Andrew Whiley is signalling well in advance his preference for additional dcc staff with him advocating at this meeting of 2 addition managers $???? pa. Hope he doesn't suggest this at every meeting - being on the economic development committee doesn't say much.

If they, the mayoral candidates have nothing credible to say , then they should keep their mouth shut to retain the integrity of their platform beliefs.

 

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