Candidates introduce themselves

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ABOUT 80 Invercargill residents packed the Grand Hotel Wool Bar meeting room on Monday night to hear Invercargill City Council candidates introduce themselves and their election priorities.
This year, 33 people ranging in age from 26 to their 70s — 24 men and nine women — have put their names forward for the local body elections. They include 11 current councillors and newcomers including businesspeople and managers, a lawyer and a retired policeman.
The 24 who turned up on Monday were given a maximum of three minutes to talk about whatever was on their minds. The few who exceeded that were given a polite ‘‘goodbye’’ message from chairman Eric Roy.
After the speeches those present were given the opportunity to approach individual candidates and ask questions.
Most candidates talked about their passion and enthusiasm for Invercargill, the skills they could add, and their desire to make a difference. However, some said their main reason for standing was because they were critical of the way the current council was doing things, particularly mentioning a lack of information for ratepayers before decisions were made, poor consultation practices, or poor financial decision-making.
Among topics mentioned often were the inner city upgrade plans and attracting people back to the CBD; the Southland Regional Development Strategy goal to increase Southland’s population by 10,000 by 2025; the need for a younger, more diverse council, and concerns over councillors also being able to sit on the boards of council-owned trading companies and accept directors’ fees.
Designer Steve Chernishov handed out novel gifts — postcards he had designed incorporating positive quotes and statements from the regional development strategy.
Candidates for the Environment Southland Invercargill-Rakiura constituency and the Invercargill Licensing Trust will speak at a similar evening on Monday, September 19.

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