Meet the by-election candidates


    VOTING for the Invercargill City Council by-election started this week with nine candidates vying for a seat at the table.

    Southland Express reporter Luisa Girao asked all the contenders what motivated them to throw their hat in the ring for the seat, following the departure of former deputy mayor Toni Biddle last year.

    They were given a 50-word limit per answer, to be given by a deadline.

    Voting was now open for the by-election, with voting papers being sent by post.

    Deputy Electoral Officer Michael Morris said: ‘‘Voting is easy, you can fill out your ballot and send it back to us in the post, or you can pop in to the Invercargill City Council Civic
    Administration Building in Esk St, the Invercargill Public Library on Dee St, or the Bluff Service Centre in Gore St, Bluff, to drop it in a ballot box.”

    Voting papers could be returned via the post until February 12 and voting would close at noon on February 17.

    The questions for the candidates were:
    1. What is your motivation in standing for council?
    2. What do you see as the council’s most important project at the moment and why?
    3. How will you positively contribute with regards to concerns highlighted by the
    independent reviewer and The Department of Internal Affairs last year?

    Wade Devine
    1. To give voters a choice and, if elected, an opportunity to serve the citizens and  ratepayers of Invercargill.

    2. To rebuild credibility and direction with its community. Stabilise the priority of the
    various projects which seem to be forever changing and move forward.

    3. By being a team player to contribute my skills, knowledge and commonsense to help steer the council towards better governance. The Thomson report makes disturbing reading and highlights serious governance and working relationship issues within the current  council.

    Tom Downey
    1. I’m a proud Southlander and I’m passionate about the city and the wider province. The regions that are doing well need effective councillors who enable the council management and staff to deliver to the city’s needs. I have the skills and experience to help deliver more for ratepayers.

    2. There are many projects that need to be sorted out. The key is prioritising and ensuring projects are well managed and don’t waste ratepayers’ money. One major concern is the ICC recycling contract which is to be revisited in 2021, a failure to address key issues here
    would be environmentally and socially damaging.

    3. Councillors need to make sure they are there for the right reason, which is to deliver value for ratepayers. We represent them. I will focus on working together in council to regain the trust of the ratepayers, community, businesses, council staff and the Minister.


    Simon Edwards
    1. I’ve always had an interest in local politics, council is about representing the community — it’s a role that means most people in full-time employment would battle to have the availability to put themselves forward, I’m lucky that with the flexibility in my breakfast
    radio hours, I am able to. To offer different perspectives.

    2. All the council’s projects are important, each project affects different people differently. The obvious one at the moment is all the work in the CBD from the construction work to the parking control proposals.

    3. Effective communication and being able to work positively with all parties, within the guidelines and structure council has.


    Bernadine Goldsmith
    I want to invest in Invercargill’s future. Over a million kiwis can return home this year, they bring money, future business and investment opportunities. Together, we can develop a plan that welcomes our returning kiwis home to Invercargill’s world-class facilities, affordable housing and breathtaking scenery.

    2. All projects that encourage tourists to the CBD. Museum, water tower and the CBD inner-city redevelopment all need to be given top priority. I would encourage council to look at future strategies to support the influx of our returning kiwis this year.

    3. Structurally, the review clearly outlines the process to follow and steps to implement. Impressively, council is in a good financial position with AA+ rating. Along with outstanding
    negotiation skills, I bring what is crucial in going forward as a united and proactive council, tautoko (supportive), manaaki (nurturing) and aroha (love).


    Wayne Harpur
    My desire to stand was out of frustration at the lack of collective responsibility being displayed around the council table.

    2. The Museum has been a fiasco for far too many years, I propose to build adjacent to
    the Invercargill Central development and the library in the CBD — it just makes sense and is much cheaper than spending $53 million on refurbishing the old museum.

    3. Lack of governance was the key point from the review and this is my strength with
    previous experience as board chair of Venture Southland and the Community Trust of
    Southland, as well as sitting at the council table previously.


    Carl Heenan
    1. Our council needs fresh new ideas to take our city forward with progress — that is why I am standing for this by-election. Having stood before for council, I want to see change.

    2. I would like to see our city have a modern new, vibrant, interactive hands-on new
    museum like Te Papa in Wellington. I would like to see our brand new museum have a Science World, Indoor Butterfly Enclosure like Otago Museum has and a lot of fresh new displays which is well overdue.

    3. The mayor, 12 councillors and the CEO should have been fired and replaced with two commissioners and a Crown manager appointed until the 2022 council elections next year. I strongly feel there is urgent need for a change of culture and attitude from our council. Also, there is no place for bullying. — Abridged


    Marcus Lush
    1. I love this city and want it to be even better.

    2. The council needs to get its act together — because at the moment nothing is getting

    3. I will use the skill set of the external appointees, and use the training provided for  elected appointees, and ongoing evaluation to become part of an effective council. This situation needs to be sorted.


    Kevin Mulrooney
    1. Since I have been and still currently work as a pharmacist in Invercargill for over 30 years and as a former pharmacy owner, I have a genuine interest in the welfare of others and the progression of the city. I would like to repay the trust that patients and clients have shown in me.

    2. I see the most important project as working with central government in providing more suitable and affordable housing. If Invercargill is to attract new businesses, which we would all like to see, then more houses need to be built and/or upgrading existing old housing stock to provide a secure, safe and warm homes at an affordable cost.

    3. To support and respect the one elected leader. To listen, respect and support as a team
    the other elected councillors. If division is apparent then everyone needs to remember
    that they work for the people of Invercargill, who have been expressing extreme  disappointment and anger at the reported behaviour. — Abridged


    David Pottinger
    1. I am motivated to stand for council because of what is currently happening with the
    council. With the Mayor unwilling or unable to lead and the deputy mayor seeming to focus on his own agenda, I want the council to return to a focus on the important issues they are
    there to address.

    2. The council’s most important project is the council itself. Get that right and the rest will follow. Important projects are already in the plan and we must first finish what we started. The city’s good financial standing will be jeopardised if we launch into other dreams of fantasy.

    3. The independent report and the DIA concerns highlighted what many Invercargill citizens were saying already. The three main issues the report reveals are the ability of the mayor, the personality of the deputy and the ‘‘stones in the shoe’’ or the outstanding projects. — AbridgedSportswear free shippingJordan