Waitaki candidates give their views

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Close to 100 people turned out to hear all five Waitaki political candidates have their say at the Grey Power question-and-answer session at the Oamaru RSA on Saturday.

The candidates for Waitaki are Jacqui Dean (National), Glenda Alexander (Labour) Donald Aubrey (Conservatives), Sue Coutts (Greens) and Hessel van Wieren (Democrats for Social Credit).

Grey Power president Malcolm McKenzie said he was pleased with the turnout from the community.

“I’m absolutely stoked with the turnout here today; the questions asked were fantastic and the candidates all gave some superb answers,” he said.

“The aim of the meeting was to help let the community know who was representing which party and a bit on what each party is looking to do.”

Mr McKenzie said the majority of people who attended the meeting had probably now decided who they were going to vote for.

“Most people will now have finalised who they are going for, which is a good thing with elections just around the corner. It was good to have all the candidates present.”

Topics raised by both Grey Power and members of the public included the cost of electricity, care for elderly people, the suitable amount for a minimum wage and living wage, the problems with water in the country, and advertising relating to alcohol and unhealthy eating.

Some parties had similar views, while others outlined different ways their party planned to tackle the issues.

St Kevin’s and Waitaki Boys’ pupils were present at the meeting and St Kevin’s year 12 pupil Sydney Telfer said it was a pleasure to be invited.

“We don’t learn much about politics at school and we loved being able to come here and not only learn a lot more about it, but also just what each party is trying to do and how they want to go about doing it. It’s been a great opportunity,” she said.

While the candidates had differing opinions on some of the issues raised, they were all happy to admit if they had limited knowledge on a specific topic and were prepared to show they agreed with certain points other parties made.

By BRAYDEN LINDSAY

PHOTO: BRAYDEN LINDSAY

WHO TO CHOOSE: Waitaki candidates (back from left) Hessel van Wieren, Sue Coutts (front from left), Glenda Alexander, Donald Aubrey and Jacqui Dean.