Postal voting has begun for the two Hastings District Council by-elections.

Seven candidates have put themselves forward for the Heretaunga ward, made vacant by Ann Redstone’s resignation, while a further three will contest the Takitimu Māori formerly held by Renata Nepe.

The Heretaunga ward candidates are: Shona Brewer, Tāwhana Chadwick, Geoff Downer, Brendan Grant, Sarah Greening-Smith, Hana Montaperto-Hendry and Melanie Lorraine Petrowski. 

Michael Ngahuka, Heather Te Au-Skipworth and Jason Whaitiri are vying for the Takitimu Māori ward.

As well as postal vote, votes can be cast at the Hastings District Council until 12pm on May 24.

BayBuzz put two very simple questions to the 10 candidates this week: 1. Why should people vote for you? And 2. Where do you stand on rates hikes?

Not responding are Sarah Greening-Smith, Melanie Lorraine Petrowski and Heather Te Au-Skipworth. Those who did, responded with the knowledge that BayBuzz would not filter or spin their answers.

Here are the candidates, in their own words, pitching for a seat at the Hastings District Council table.

Shona Brewer – Heretaunga ward

1. I am actively part of each community within the electorate and led the Cyclone Gabrielle response in Clive and surrounding districts.

My skills are in organisational development and budgets. I own a successful catering company, Lavender Kitchen Catering Limited. It’s a testament to my ability to always find solutions in difficult, sometimes urgent situations. 

As a city, we need to concentrate on today’s bread and butter, rather than tomorrow’s chocolate cake. 

I believe in our democracy but if people don’t engage, we lose that. Let me represent you and be your voice.

2. It’s unnecessary to the level suggested. 

I have dug deep into the available data for the last three years and the coming three years. The rates hike does not need to be this high. 

Huge amounts of council funds, which are your dollars and cents, have been spent or will be spent on things that are not essential. 

We need basic services and infrastructure that are consistent and sustainable. We can do that, but we need to be very focused. 

I will voice that loudly, if elected. Have no doubt about that.

Hana Montaperto-Hendry – Heretaunga ward

1. Vote for me for a proven track record in community engagement.

A Volunteer Firefighter, with a rare, diverse skill set, including entrepreneurship, business, finances,and people management. A Sheet Metal Engineer with worker’s hands, a sharp mind and a kind heart.

I’m a straight shooter and an open book, with enough gunpowder in my veins to question everything and bridge the gap between council and communities.

What matters most is that we protect our people, coast and rivers, including rapid installation of robust monitoring and alarm systems. Preserve our fertile soils, empower communities and youth resulting in thriving, resilient communities.

I will rattle cages if needed to get things done.

2. Where do I stand on rates hikes? Bloody reeling like most of the voices I’ve heard. With the current cost of living crisis, rates increases are incredibly painful to many. However, realistically, post pandemic and sadly now in cyclone recovery across most parts of Hawke’s Bay, the rates increase was quite clearly looming.

I’m incredibly interested to see what fresh ideas and strategies for navigating future rates increases the community consultations bring to the table. If elected, I am keen to listen to what the communities have to say and get cracking on the gold ideas that come from them.

Excited also for the potential to bring fresh eyes to the midst, pushing for fastidious account management, including questioning, justification, and accountability of expenditure to ensure that we all get absolute bang for buck.

Geoff Downer – Heretaunga ward

1. I want to be a community voice for the Heretaunga ward and all wards.

I believe the HDC has lost touch with its ratepayers and there needs to be more community consultation and more community-led decisions. 

Cyclone recovery is going to be a large exercise for years to come and I want to make sure that the council carries it out in such a way that it protects all communities. 

I want to ensure that Civil Defence is made fit for purpose and the people who run it have the correct skills, experience and resources to respond in a capable and instant manner as required. 

2. Expenditure needs to go back to basics. We can’t afford to be spending on frivolous or vanity projects. 

Council debt is going to only get worse over the next few years as we recover from Cyclone Gabrielle. 

If we can’t pay for projects without increasing debt or rates then we need to hold back on these projects unless it is basic council services. 

Council expenditure needs to be kept in check with what ratepayers can afford. 

Tāwhana Chadwick – Heretaunga ward

1. As someone with many generations of ancestry in Heretaunga, Tāwhana connects deeply with the people, the land, and the waters of Heretaunga. 

Tāwhana will be a strong voice for the environment, for unity through Te Tiriti o Waitangi and for our diverse population here, including our rainbow and ethnic communities. 

Tāwhana’s attitude is collaborative and he has a passion for people and the planet. 

A united Heretaunga will meet the challenges facing us today and prepare us for the future with leadership based on principles, solutions built on our shared values, and that’s a vote for Tāwhana Chadwick for Heretaunga

2. Let’s address the elephant in the room: Council is in debt. As your councillor for Heretaunga ward, Tāwhana will support ethical investments that back the local economy and local infrastructure. A majority of council spending and investment needs to stay in Te Matau a Māui, rather than creating jobs in Ōtautahi and Tāmaki Makaurau. 

Tāwhana will also promote a strategy of anti-apartheid divestment, so that Heretaunga residents can be sure that their rates are not funding weapons, wars, genocides and illegal occupations overseas. 

Heretaunga can be Aotearoa’s first Apartheid-Free City and reinvest that money to get Council out of debt. 

Solutions to debt should be built on our shared values and with strong principle-based leadership we will meet the challenges facing us today and will prepare us for what is to come in the future. 

A vote for Tāwhana Chadwick for Heretaunga ward is a vote for values-based solutions.

Brendan Grant – Heretaunga ward

1. I’m standing for affordable rates, safe communities, and a thriving district.

Starting with a council that is lean and efficient. Living in a community where everyone has a safe place to live and good employment opportunities.

I have an employment background in engineering and asset management.  Assessing risk and prioritising spend.

I would like to represent the rate payer on matters of social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing. My commitment is to be transparent, empathetic and consistent. Treating all people equally regardless of position, gender, ethnicity.

2. The proposed rate increases are unaffordable and unsustainable. The council must focus to reduce overheads and cut costs in every area.  

Using science and data to make informed decisions to reduce costs around maintaining our infrastructure, reign in our forecast debt levels and look forward to a brighter future.

Jason Whaitiri – Takitumu Māori ward

1. I stand for, believe and will advocate for and strengthen ngā hapu, ngā Marae, ngā hāpori.

Kotahitanga – Unity, Mātauranga Māori – Māori world view and knowledge and vision and aspirations for all communities. 

If you also stand and believe in these values then vote for me. 

Vote for me and I will ensure that I advocate for your voice and your community at the council table. 

2. I would like to see the council prioritise their spending and look at other avenues and areas within the organisations where costs can be saved. 

Increasing rates should not be the council’s first option. Ensuring that there is quality in the services that the council offer is important to me so, if that reflects in the increase of our rates, then I’d like to see that. 

This will ensure all residents get more bang for their buck. 

Michael Ngahuka – Takitumu Māori ward

1. The people are what public service is about. I serve the people tirelessly, passionately and unrelentingly.

Whakamana Tane. Whakamana Wahine. Whakamana Tangatahi. Whanakama whanau. Whakamana Hapu. Whakamana Iwi.

Strengthening our men, women, youth, families and community is my chief aim.

Voting for me will ensure the heart, mind, soul and spirit are on the table for all decisions at council.

Flood recovery, homes for families, rates, youth are some of the key issues I’m focusing on.

2. I am a business owner and understand a little bit about supply and demand.

We must ensure that rates are balanced with the services that council provide and care for. 

With the devastation of Cyclone Gabrielle, Hastings District Council is in a hard-pressed financial position but we can come through it.

No sugar coating, it will be difficult for council and the community.

I’m okay with rates increasing if there is value added to the people of our community equal to the increase in rates. I’m also for rates reduction if we can positively work towards that end.

There is no simple way regarding rates, so we must become creative and source great solutions.

Public Interest Journalism funded by NZ On Air


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *