Blenheim ward candidate Cyril Dawson is making a second bid to be elected on to Marlborough District Council. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Candidate’s bid to sway voters as election date looms

Blenheim ward candidates have made a bid to sway undecided voters as the cutoff date for voting edges closer.

With less than two weeks to go until voting closes for both Marlborough District Council and Nelson Marlborough Health, council candidates spoke to an audience of Grey Power members.

Around 50 members were at the Wesley Centre in Blenheim on Thursday to hear firsthand why each candidate believed a vote for them was the right one.

Pete Watson was missing from the line-up as he attended his father’s funeral.

But Tony Norman, who nominated Pete’s candidacy, stepped-up on his behalf to deliver the key points, including reining-in rates and better town planning.

“By my analysis he’s a thinker, a leader in his own way, got good ideas but very importantly he’s not afraid to speak up.

“He will I believe, poke his head above the parapet and challenge any bad decisions,” he says.

Each candidate was given two minutes to outline policies and give the audience some background information about themselves.

The majority spoke up for revitalisation of the central business district and also for protecting the environment.

Cyril Dawson, who’s campaigned under the slogan ‘Grassroots Ratepayer’ spoke candidly about his bid to support people on lower incomes.

“I’m a bit peeved about how our money is being spent. I open my own rates bill and think ‘fudge cakes.’ Council has to prioritise where our money is spent,” he says.

First time candidates such Deborah Dalliessi, Matt Flight, Gerry Roodakker, and Meg Martin spoke passionately about the changes they wanted to see.

Gerry says he was standing in a bid to repay the support he has been given over the years.

He says that now he is retired he has ‘all the time in the world’ to help.

“The reason I am standing is to give back to all those people who have supported me throughout the years.”

Mayoral candidate and current councilor Jamie Arbuckle was greeted with strong applause as he outlined his plans.

“I will actually stand up and argue for you the people,” he says.

He added that while he was the youngest candidates, he was also one of the most experienced with nine years of experience.

First time candidate Deborah Dalliessi spoke about her passion for helping.

“My passion is aging well. If you elect me, I will go beyond the call of duty. I have had the privilege of seeing what it’s like to age … I ask you to vote for a strong woman and a strong advocate for you.”

The session ended with candidates answering questions already given to them by Grey Power Marlborough members.

Voting closes on 12 October at 12pm.

Q&A with councillor Mark Peters

Councillor Mark Peters is seeking a second term standing for the Blenheim Ward- he has a lot he still wants to achieve.

What prompted your decision to stand for council and was it a difficult decision to make?

I have a lot of unfinished work from having served just one term and believe I can make worthwhile contributions in a second term. It wasn’t difficult to decide to do so.

If successful, what matters the most to you in terms of what you would like to achieve for the community?

Really good financial governance is important to me. I cannot abide waste or unnecessary expenditure. I want to see a vibrant CBD in Blenheim, wise use of our precious resources, appropriate care for the environment, really good post-secondary options for our young people and economic growth to help all Marlborough people.

I want our rates to be fairly set with minimal rises and spent wisely for the best possible outcomes.

What areas do you feel council needs to refocus its energies on?

This past term has seen a well settled and committed Council. So, with a number of new faces to be welcomed in the next term it is important to continue an environment where everyone is able to say what they feel, debate issues strongly but accept collective responsibility for democratic conclusions reached.

We need to ensure completion of our programmes of capital works on budget and to make real inroads into mitigating factors in climate change. We must ensure we have great facilities and sustainable resource use to hand over to future generations.

What makes you proud to be a Marlburian?

Not only does Marlborough have outstanding natural beauty, great resources and some world class products, the people here are kind and inclusive. We tend to deal with things pragmatically, even if we have different views and we like to give everyone a fair go.

People have a lot of choice in who they vote for, why should they vote for you?

Because I care about this place and its people. I have many years of practical governance experience and hold a number of financial qualifications. I am totally committed to making Marlborough an even better place to live in and believe I can make a difference.


Marlborough District Council electoral officer Dean Heiford. Photo: Matt Brown.

Wannabe councillors hoarding warning

Would-be councillors are being warned to steer clear of contentious election hoardings ahead of voting.

Campaign signs used last year came under fire from some members of the public for featuring Blenheim’s town centre war memorial.

The use of any images of memorials on election hoardings was banned at a council committee meeting on Thursday.

The move means well-known landmarks around Marlborough, such as the clock tower in Seymour Square and the fountain are a no-go.

Marlborough District Council electoral officer Dean Heiford says last election there were several “informal inquiries” about the use of war memorials.

An unsuccessful candidate pictured the iconic clocktower on their marketing material.

“We saw it as a breach of good taste, decency and the spirit of the Electoral Act, the RSA were also not happy with the use of the image,” Dean says.

The local body elections are gearing up with nominations opening 19 July.

The fountain in Seymour Square is a war memorial and is forbidden from election hoardings. Photo: Matt Brown.
The fountain in Seymour Square is a war memorial and is forbidden from election hoardings. Photo: Matt Brown.

Campaign signs have regularly become an issue of contention amongst running candidates.

Claims of rule-breaking, graffiti and bad-taste surround the placards.

Sign size, location, and replicating voting papers on hoardings caught out at least one council hopeful every election.

However, electoral staff were unable to find any law or precedent policy in New Zealand that would prohibit the use of images of war memorials for promotional or commercial purposes.

Council consider a statement in the 2019 Candidate Handbook will suffice.

But Dean says offending hoardings could be removed.

“We have requested that candidates check their draft advertising with the election team prior to printing, this will hopefully head it off,” he says.

Candidate nominations close at midday on 16 August 2019. To stand for the Council, you must be: a New Zealand citizen, aged 18 years or older and enrolled on the electoral roll.

A $200 deposit is also required but may be refunded depending on votes received.