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T3 Candidates Meeting 

The Transition Town Thames candidates meeting at the Civic Centre today was very successful - probably over 100 attended, and apart from leaving the WRC candidates off the platform, it could be seen as having provided an excellent forum for prospective candidates to present their wares. Those attending were all the usual suspects’ that normally attend meetings of this nature - a range of mainly elderly, greenish and those earnestly concerned about the future of the planet.

The written questions selected to pose to candidates following the short (3-4 minute) statements reflected the particular leanings of the T3 crew running the show, and I guess that is fair enough - they filled the vacuum after all!  Strangely, candidates appeared uncertain as to whether to stick to the T3 scripted question – some appeared to simply ignore while others appeared intimidated by them.

What concerned me was the obvious ignorance demonstrated by most of the new candidates about their roles, and the functions of the Council and Board. That I guess in unsurprising, but it does reflect a lack of basic research on their part.

In order of speaking, these are my comments (I have moved the candidates for Council ahead of those for the Board):

Wayne Williscroft – Wayne is tradesman (Electrician) whose main concerns appear to revolve providing smaller sections for smaller higher density houses. He is concerned about the fact there are employers looking for staff, and unemployed looking for jobs, but had no ideas as to how to overcome this. He wants Council to build sea-walls, and continue with empowerment. Sorry, he did not impress. Out of his depth.

Strat Peters  - Strat bored us stiff, when we could hear him, and wasted his time with his family history. He claimed that “the future is bright,”and that “We are getting better at driving change.” He claimed great success foir TUDs without much explanation. He wants a “balanced economy,” and “continued revitalisation, “ “visitor promotion strategy.” Blah, blah….!

Sally Christie – Another “TCDC Team” member, who referred to past experience, and her fondness for “good governance,” “ employing the best people” and “relationships with the community,”  “clear goals,” and “teamwork.” All good, but Sally came across as the consummate professional, and posible trougher – no sign of understanding what actually faces the Council in the years ahead.  

Murray Wakelin – Murray went about the need for good communications across all levels, and “good relationships,” “sustainable development,” and the need for a Kiwi Centre at Te Puru – great, but hardly with cooee of core Council business. Wants “affordable housing and a ‘hand-up, not hand-out.’” He spoke well and has all the skills of an pastor/orator – witness all the ‘apple-pie’ stuff above. But impressed as potentially a dammed good councillor.

Rex Simpson – Rex said more in his three minutes that I have heard him say in three years on the Board. All the “Tangata, tangata, tangata” stuff, and “Balancing the economy and encouraging business,” Mentioned Public/Private partnerships, and “extreme tides” – not we have had them yet, but he wants more communication with WRC on this.  

Craig Cassidy – Went ten to the dozen to get it all in having watched his predecessors fall short on the time-ball. But he did say where he stood on a number of topical issues and came across as someone who was able and willing to ask the hard questions. Wants better communications strategy and local procurement. Successfully promoting kids out school in emergency services. Came across as having matured extremely well and ready for the next step up. He seems to have a very good grasp of the issues, but just needs some public speaking mentorship.

Of the Council candidates I would rate today’s performance only in the following order:

  1. Craig Cassidy
  2. Murray Wakelin,
  3. Sally Christie,
  4. Rex Simpson,
  5. Strat Peters
  6. Wayne Willescroft

Note – Three only required

The Board Candidates follow in order of presentation:

Clancy Nixon – Heavily emphasized the Otorahonga youth employment model, and that Council needed to ensure suitable land was zoned for housing. Also the Kopu barge landing for mussels. Wants a “climate change management plan.” He wants more transparent decision making and overall spoke very well compared to the others.

Mike Veal – Heavy emphasis on law & order – seems to mistake the role of the Council in this area. Wants to “drive “the drop-kicks out of town.” I wonder just what the euphemism is that he is using here, and appears to have an unhealthy obsession with the issue, even if it touched a raw nerve with this particular elderly crowd.  Mentioned a few potential industries. Wants to protect public space, but not compensate private owners from sea erosion. Not an impressive speaker.

Catherine Croft – Finds its hard to disguise her green roots, and why should she – she clearly has some good ideas and wants more Council involvement in youth and social activities. Catherine may have to learn the hard way about limitations on expenditure, and the relationship with rates! Catherine showed exactly why she would be a good voice on the Board representing the younger generation and should be encouraged. 

Diane Connors – spoke well if briefly about why she was down-sizing, and her “passion for Thames” – did not indicate why she had not joined the “TCDC Team.” Quite blatant about wanting the Chair – and why not? Talked about some of the strategies around Thames, but made none of the outrageous claims made by Strat and some others. I don’t think she needs any help from me - go Girl!

Lester Yates – Did not show – on duty with DoC up at the Pinnacles – that is Lester’s problem. He did not even bother to provide an address for anyone to give on his behalf – too bad!

My rankings based on today’s performance only were as follows:

  1. Diane Connors,
  2. Clancy Nixon,
  3. Catherine Croft,
  4. Mike Veal

Note – Four only required

Mayoral Candidates:

Sandra Goudie – I will try to retain some level of objectivity, but readers are well familiar with my preference for Mayor – I cannot hide the fact that Sandra spoke extremely well with accomplished oratorical skills acquired over many years. Emphasized her willingness to ask the right questions – made mention of the disgraceful performance in regard to the Hauraki Gulf document that Peter French had a hand in and that I have written about at length (Search for it!) Highly critical of District Plan – again a French responsibility. Measured on the share of resources for Thames. Mentioned at length the need for vigilance on the three waters.   Also wants communications improved, and that her door and mind would remain open for all suggestions.

Good speech - not brilliant, but well aimed at the crowd present

Peter French – Peter must have spent hours composing this speech, but shut your eyes and it was all the old Leach aphorisms – more lies that you can shake a stick at in relation to rates, borrowing and improvements to infrastructure. It is the same old stuff that leach has been claiming and embellishing for years. Claimed that it was no time for change, and scaring the horses with references to the previous Council - more out-right lies! Indicated that TCDC was ready for amalgamation, if required, but did not mention local preference – that is what very nearly got us into trouble with Leach’s ambition three years ago.

All in all, a pretty stilted, and brainless performance, heavy on highly questionabale data, and none of Sandra’s warmth and good humour, and no attempt to respond to her barbs on the Gulf and District Plan for which he was primarily responsible.


There, I have tried to keep it objective, but I did not think that Peter came within a ‘bull’s roar’ of Sandra on this occasion. I have heard that there was a similar reaction at the other meetings. I will say that his summing up was superior – he touched on all his main points. Sandra went off script by opting to answer more questions, but they were of the T3 variety – she should have seen the trap.   




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Reader Comments (1)

Surely Bill, French is not harping on about the Council/councillors of 6 years ago of which he would know very little about?
Under this Councils watch [2010-2016] there have been some massive problems.
Remember Peter, the over runs on the Multi sports complex at M.Bay -some 4-5m
Apparently Leach knew nothing of it until 'it appeared above the earth bund'
Meanwhile Thames, your home patch, suffers on with buildings at Rhodes Park that should be demolished. Maybe some of the overrun could have been spent at Rhodes Park, the most utilised of any sports field in the Coromandel- Hauraki district.
The hugely costly Coastal walks where Council has pushed ahead without consultation of the local communities
The targeted economic development tax which sucks some 2.4m out of the District every year and spent on the whim of an unelected economic development committee. The list is endless
Not easy being a councillor granted, but continously blaming the 'previous council' is simplistic to say the least, especially as French has two councillors previously on the said council, on his 'team'.
Somehow those words glasshouse and stones come readily to mind!!!

September 17, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterThamesite

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