‘Speed date’ nominees
Ask candidates those burning election queries
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.
Louise Parsons and Deborah Burnside getting ready for the ‘speed date a candidate’ event at East Pier.