Many chances to meet the candidates

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LOCAL body election season is in full swing, with candidates publicising their names via billboards and other means.

A rush of last-minute nominations means plenty of choice for Southland voters this year, particularly those living in Invercargill.

There are 33 candidates vying for 12 Invercargill City Council (ICC) seats and 11 people chasing six places in Environment Southland’s (ES) Invercargill-Rakiura electorate.

But “meet the candidate” meetings seem few and far between, especially in the rural areas.

The Otatara Community Group is hosting a candidates’ meeting next week. Chairman Frank Dean said his group decided to do so because of the large number of candidates standing – 46 in total for the ICC, mayorality and ES Invercargill-Rakiura seats.

Because 46 speakers would have been too many, the number was capped at 25, he said, first in, first served. The total had been reached already, with three people on a waiting list.

On Tuesday, the 21 ICC candidates at a “meet the candidates” evening organised by the Next Rotary Generation Rotary Club had a chance to show their fun side. They were given Lego and instructions to design something for the city in co-operation with their table mates.

The results varied from an inner-city art gallery with a pool table to attract young people and an inner city playground with functioning Christmas lights – a reference to ICC staff purchasing lights in China last year which it turns out cannot be used in New Zealand – to an earthquake-proof water tower and a “kakapo-arium” accompanied by predator-free fencing.

Voting papers for this year’s elections are being delivered from next Friday. Election day is October 8.

– Allison Beckham

Meet the candidates meetings:

  • Tuesday, September 13, Pacific Islands Trust centre, Bowmont St, 7.30pm. Featuring all local women candidates
  • Wednesday, September 14, SIT Centrestage, Don St, 5.30pm. ICC mayoral forum hosted by Southland Chamber of Commerce, and chance to mingle with ICC candidates. Free, but registrations essential. To register go to www.commercesouth.com
  • Thursday, September 15, Otatara Community Centre, Dunns Rd, 7pm. Featuring ICC and ES Invercargill-Rakiura constituency candidates
  • Monday, September 19, The Wool Bar, Grand Hotel, Tay St, 7pm. Featuring ES Invercargill-Rakiura constituency and Invercargill Licensing Trust candidates
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