Received from RMN
Tue, 21 Sep 2016 at 11:13 p.m.
A slightly larger crowd of Dunedinites arrived at the Mayfair Theatre tonight, and one or two were even angry.
The group of candidates was much smaller than last night but as a group the candidates were more impressive specimens than last night.
Standout new candidates were Jim O’Malley, Paul Pope, Conrad Stedman, David Murray, Neil Johnstone and Nanette Linklater.
Richard O’Mahony was also OK, if unspecific, but Tony Johnston was uncomfortable with the inevitable self promotion and sound bites that one must engage in as a local body politician. There is the sense that Mr Johnston could have value as a councillor with his background but he needs to study Mike Lord or Mr Stedman as examples of how to relate to a crowd.
Mr Lord tended to be short on specifics but even when on the verboten topic of the Mosgiel Pool came across as credible and with integrity, even when he did not quite answer the question.
Once again Lee Vandervis stole the show, helped in no small measure by the fact that many of the questions were directed to himself and Mr Lord as sitting councillors.
The questions were almost scripted for Mr Vandervis – how to wring results from the DCC bureaucracy, the Citifleet fraud, the awful financial abscess that is Delta and Aurora, the madness of the 2GP planners, the vacuousness of the Cull regime “if you can’t see it they are not going to spend on it” and “every year has been election year”.
With Mr Vandervis’ usual combination of wit, recall of facts and obvious determination, almost every response was greeted with enthusiastic applause.
The best line of the evening came from Mr Murray when he said to the audience – “it’s about priorities” – who do you trust to put South Dunedin as the top priority, and it certainly is not the current council as they have proven this by spending $6M on cycleways for us and underspending on drains.
Mr Murray, Mr Stedman & Ms Linklater made the powerful point that they actually lived in South Dunedin, and are fully committed to it.
Mr O’Malley raised the elephant in the room when he said that there was a north south divide in the city and the two sides retreated to their side of the railway line. He said that South Dunedin had good reason to mistrust the council as they had failed South Dunedin. This was echoed by most new candidates. Mr O’Malley has shown that he is willing to confront the problems that are beyond most of the current crop of councillors and his background in the American corporate world is impressive.
Paul Pope was also impressive and noted that he had spent three weeks visiting local businesses to get their views, something that candidate Linklater had also spent a lot of time in, which went down well.
Mr Stedman was sincere and obviously committed to South Dunedin, and he dealt with some aggressive and illogical heckling very well. His account of his efforts to remove the Hargest Crescent cycleway were well received.
There were only 2 sitting councillors that showed up, being Mike Lord and Lee Vandervis, with chief cycleway apologist Cr Kate Wilson absent, along with new candidates Fraser, Hope and Shepherd.
Interestingly, the ODT chose to feature the question of feral cats in South Dunedin, which may be a sign that election weariness is setting in at ODT.
Related Post and Comments:
21.9.16 The First of two South Dunedin candidate meetings #review
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
Election Year. This post is offered in the public interest.