The Vincent Ward meet the candidates evening at Central Stories Art Gallery and Museum on Monday evening started calmly, but became heated over funding of the museum and passions continued to run high as the discussion moved into infrastructure funding in general.
Candidates for Otago Regional Council led the evening so they could then goto a similar meeting in Cromwell, and Michael Laws got the laugh of the night when he said his cat killed more rabbits than the Otago Regional Council.
Alexa Forbes sent apologies as she had Covid, and her prepared statement was read, as was Ian Cooney’s. Lynley Claridge also sent apologies. Dai Johns was also absent.
The lack of young faces was notable in the audience but how to attract and keep young people in the community was an issue raised by the audience during question time.
Jayden Cromb, who is standing for the Vincent Ward and Vincent Community Board, said his children would be the seventh generation in Central Otago and housing availability was important to keep young people in the region.
He said that being young and Maori was a big part of who he was, but not everything.
‘‘I’m also a resident of Central Otago and that is the most important part.’’
Candidates answered a series of prepared questions, the first being whether the town’s information centre should return to Central Stories.
Most answers were negative, with Tamah Alley, who hopes to be returned as a Vincent Ward councillor, saying the i›Site and information centre were ‘‘no longer fit for purpose’’.
A question from the floor over the funding of Central Stories made the passions felt on the matter apparent, with politeness lost in at least one of the interjections.
Both Mrs Alley and Martin McPherson, who is also standing for council again, said Vincent Ward ratepayers should not be paying twice for the museum, through the community board and the council.