I’ll bet that reaction was in the minds of most candidates as they left the Hastings District Council candidates’ meeting last night.

That’s right, the candidates deserve better.

They deserve better than the paltry audience — maybe 100 voters, estimating generously — that showed up for the HB Today-sponsored event.

It’s no wonder that officeholders have a tendency, however noble and democratic their intentions, to eventually write off the electorate. 60% or so won’t bother to vote. And only god knows what the 40% who do vote will actually base their votes on. Clearly they’re too busy to devote a few hours one night getting to know the candidates firsthand!

Anyone who did invest the time last night would have come away better informed and, I believe, encouraged by the diversity of choice offered by this year’s crop of candidates … candidates with different priorities, personal qualities, experiences and, in the case of incumbents, track records in office to bring to the table. Each of them passionate about Hawke’s Bay in his or her various ways.

In the group was someone to suit any taste — the quietly earnest, the cage-rattlers, the seasoned hands, the fresh faces, the plainly competent, the bricks & mortar focused, the environmentally visionary, the growth-ers and the preservers … some of these categories mutually exclusive, others not.

So, Hastings voters, if you were soaking in the tub last night instead of vetting the candidates, shame on you! Be prepared to whack yourself on the side of the head six months or a year from now when you’re ticked off about something the Council or your Councillor did or did not do.

If you’re a BayBuzz reader, you’re likely to be an “influencer” in the community. You network, you care about issues, and others pay attention to your views. Your job — dare I say responsibility? — is to spread the word about the candidates who impress you.

If you missed the candidates’ forum, how can you get informed? Two places to start are the online resources offered by Baybuzz and by Making Waves.


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