Local election candidates were asked the big questions at a unique Meet the Candidates event on Tuesday night.

Puna Rangatahi and the Central Otago Youth Council, with support from the Central Otago District Council, organised a speed-dating style event for youth voters to engage directly with Vincent ward council and community board candidates.

Seven candidates, plus uncontested Central Otago mayor Tim Cadogan, attended the event.

Each candidate had four minutes to answer the teenagers’ questions and no topic was off limits.

Central Otago Youth Council chairwoman Tabitha Hildyard (18) said the young people came up with the questions themselves and were asking about the issues that were important to them.

Puna Rangatahi manager Deb Drake said the format was designed to engage young people, and help them get to know the candidates.

‘‘It’s breaking down the barriers of their normal campaign speech so the young people are getting an idea of who they are as people.’’