Key issues related to stormwater, infrastructure and transparency for rural candidates in Manawatū


Manawatū candidates speak at Thursday's meeting in the Himatangi Community Hall – clockwise from top left;  rural candidate Fiona Underwood, mayoral candidates Shane Casey and Helen Worboys, and rural candidates Steve Bielski, Alison Short, Colin McFadzean, Andrew Quarrie and Brynn Neilson.

WARWICK SMITH / Stuff

Manawatū candidates speak at Thursday’s meeting in the Himatangi Community Hall – clockwise from top left; rural candidate Fiona Underwood, mayoral candidates Shane Casey and Helen Worboys, and rural candidates Steve Bielski, Alison Short, Colin McFadzean, Andrew Quarrie and Brynn Neilson.

Infrastructure, stormwater, pricing, and council transparency are key issues on the agenda of Manawatū’s rural candidates.

Six candidates, including three rookies, are vying for five seats in rural Manawatū headquarters in October’s local elections.

All six, along with two mayoral candidates, addressed the Himatangi community at a meeting of candidates on Thursday evening.

They expressed concern over rising rural fares amid the rising cost of living and promised to review infrastructure improvements, cut spending and strengthen the rural voice on council.

READ MORE:
* Hawke’s Bay mayoral candidates discuss tariffs, water, housing and transportation
* Meet your Gore District candidates
* How residents can read their Waipā District Council standard tariff bill

Rural candidate Steve Bielski says he knows the importance of showing up.

WARWICK SMITH / Stuff

Rural candidate Steve Bielski says he knows the importance of showing up.

Responding to a question about Himatangi’s struggling stormwater infrastructure and frequent flash floods, Alison Short said six villages had been identified for targeted stormwater rates.

“For many years, there was no money assessed for stormwater in rural villages.

“We identified six villages – Tangimoana, Himatangi, Sanson, Rongotea, Halcombe and Cheltenham – and we began to assess communities for harmonized stormwater rates in these six villages.

“So we are proceeding village by village. Himatangi is definitely on the plan.

Andrew Quarrie wants to make sure taxpayers get what they pay for.

WARWICK SMITH / Stuff

Andrew Quarrie wants to make sure taxpayers get what they pay for.

Short said the council will face a lot of central government reforms in the next term and that his experience will help him navigate it.

“Big changes in local government along with tough economic conditions and high rate considerations [are under consideration].”

Residents also raised the need to provide value for the rates they paid.

Second-time local candidate Andrew Quarrie said value for money was key to his platform.

Rural candidate Fiona Underwood worries about the future of local democracy.

WARWICK SMITH / Stuff

Rural candidate Fiona Underwood worries about the future of local democracy.

He said he was concerned about the millions of dollars spent on redevelopment of Feilding’s library.

“I strongly believe in open and transparent advice that minimizes unnecessary expenses.

“There must be a minimization of unnecessary expenses [that] I don’t see at the moment.

First-time candidate Colin McFadzean, who worked on Stanway’s water system for seven years, said the council needed to take a hard look at how to cut costs.

Colin McFadzean says the board needs to cut costs.

WARWICK SMITH / Stuff

Colin McFadzean says the board needs to cut costs.

“In my experience, it’s not hard to make money, but it’s hard to hang on to it.”

First-time candidate Brynn Neilson, a Sanson businessman who installed and funded wireless internet for Sanson residents, said transparency is a top priority.

“It shouldn’t be difficult. We have computers and I would like to see where the money was spent.

Neilson had pledged half of his base salary to the board if elected to a trust working for children.

Alison Short says Himatangi is on the list of targeted stormwater tariffs.

WARWICK SMITH / Stuff

Alison Short says Himatangi is on the list of targeted stormwater tariffs.

Steve Beilski, who served the council for nine years and was actively involved in the Rangiwahia community for 37 years, said he was determined to have a rural voice on the council.

“I will continue to attend officials meetings.

“It’s important. If you are present, you can vote. If you are not present, you cannot vote.

“I’ve only missed one meeting out of 72 board meetings held over three years.”

Another first-time candidate, Fiona Underwood, expressed concern about the erosion of local democracy.

“If local government continues to be stripped of key roles, councils will eventually become superfluous and local people will no longer have a say in how their communities are run.

“Our district will eventually be run from Wellington on a single basis.

Brynn Neilson wants to make sure the board is transparent.

WARWICK SMITH / Stuff

Brynn Neilson wants to make sure the board is transparent.

She also raised concerns about the increase in rates paid by private landlords.

“Rural and urban landowners end up with land that they continue to pay for but cannot use.

“The biodiversity of their land has become a handicap. Rate increases must be commensurate with landowner incomes.

Previous Samsung One UI 4.1.1 Update and Bug Tracking (Continued)
Next Learn to recognize hackers, be part of the cybersecurity solution