‘Speed date’ nom­i­nees

Ask can­di­dates those burn­ing elec­tion queries

Napier Courier - - Front Page - BY BRENDA VOWDEN [email protected]

Speed dat­ing may have been the craze a few years back, but it’s very much in vogue in the Bay.

Speed Date a Can­di­date is the brain­child of event fa­cil­i­ta­tor Deb­o­rah Burn­side who be­lieves this will give can­di­dates and the pub­lic a plat­form in a less for­mal way.

“Orig­i­nally, when I ran a sim­i­lar event last elec­tion, I wanted to see more peo­ple, par­tic­u­larly women, en­gage in pol­i­tics, po­si­tions of lead­er­ship and their com­mu­ni­ties. It seemed a good way to put peo­ple in front of can­di­dates rather than speeches from a stage,” Deb­o­rah says.

She says the idea is to en­cour­age and sup­port can­di­dates and cre­ate mean­ing­ful en­gage­ment.

“Some­times peo­ple have good ques­tions they’d like to ask, but hold back from rais­ing a hand in a large group set­ting. Our speed date event will re­ceive ques­tions in ad­vance from reg­is­tered at­ten­dees. Can­di­dates too, can be ner­vous, es­pe­cially if this is their first foray into pol­i­tics.”

Sen­si­ble Sen­tenc­ing Trust founder Garth McVicar will be on hand to open the night, and keep time for each can­di­date to de­liver a rapid fire one minute in­tro­duc­tion. Then, nom­i­nees will take the hot seat at ta­bles to an­swer the ques­tions the pub­lic has asked.

“Napier has moved to a full ward sys­tem so this is your chance to re­ally get to know who wants to rep­re­sent you and find out about those from other wards as well,” Deb­o­rah says.

Deb­o­rah says she re­ceived hugely pos­i­tive re­ac­tions from can­di­dates when she pro­posed the idea.

“Within a mat­ter of hours nearly all spa­ces were filled or com­mit­ted to.”

Any­one in­ter­ested in ask­ing the can­di­dates a ques­tion at the event is asked to regis­ter on Eventfinda or email Deb­o­rah­burn­si­d­e­[email protected]

“If you have a burn­ing ques­tion you’d like an­swered let me know, and some ran­dom ques­tions from the floor will be ten­dered too, to keep our nom­i­nees on their toes.”

Ques­tions can be for one can­di­date only or con­cerned with the en­tire city. Reg­is­tered par­tic­i­pants will sit at a ward ta­ble of their choice and the can­di­dates will move from ta­ble to ta­ble as the event or­gan­is­ers ad­vise, Deb­o­rah says.

“This is the chance to be seated at a ta­ble with one or two can­di­dates and hear them an­swer city-wide or ques­tions re­lated only to their wards and to hear their dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives.

Floor ques­tions will fol­low and will be im­promptu.

“While many ratepay­ers have the same con­cerns for our city — wa­ter and the pool — there are a myr­iad of other things that are im­por­tant to dif­fer­ent groups, like wheel­chair and mo­bil­ity scooter ac­cess around our city. It’s re­ally in­ter­est­ing the ques­tions that are com­ing in.”

Can­di­dates al­ready con­firm­ing their at­ten­dance are Ta­nia Wright, Gary Wise, Cather­ine Hawkins, Jake Brookie, Graeme Tay­lor, Nigel Simp­son, Keith Price, Hay­ley Browne, Matthew Bon­nett, James Crow, Craig Morely, An­nette Bros­nan, Richard McGrath, Steve Gib­son and Chris Tre­main, with HBRC hope­ful, Ni­chola Ni­chol­son, also join­ing the event.

The or­gan­is­ers ask peo­ple to regis­ter for this event so that ad­e­quate seat­ing and ta­ble lay­outs are made.

■ Speed date a Can­di­date, Tues­day, Septem­ber, 6pm — 8.30pm, East Pier, Hardinge Road, Napier. Free event. Open to the pub­lic with or with­out ques­tions. Space is lim­ited.

PHOTO: WAR­REN BUCK­LAND

Louise Par­sons and Deb­o­rah Burn­side get­ting ready for the ‘speed date a can­di­date’ event at East Pier.

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