Candidates answer our readers' own questions

By Ilona Hanne

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The Stratford Press sent a range of questions, submitted by our readers, out to the 15 Stratford District Council candidates giving them a deadline of Friday, September 9 to reply. The questions and candidates' answers have been printed over the past few weeks.

The 13 candidates who responded have been listed in alphabetical order.

Tony Milham and Keryn Walsh are also standing.

QUESTION ONE: Are you standing for the Urban or Rural ward and have you served as a Stratford councillor before?

QUESTION TWO: Do you think councillors are underpaid/overpaid or correctly paid?

QUESTIONS THREE: What can council do to help businesses in town thrive?

QUESTION FOUR: How would you encourage economic development in the area?


QUESTION ONE: Urban, am not a current councillor.

QUESTION TWO: From the outside looking in I, generally think councillors are correctly paid. Council remuneration is set be an independent body anyway. In a democratic system, any under performing councillors (and therefore over paid), will be replaced by the voters.

QUESTION THREE: Businesses do better when they have more customers. So increased population and encouraging higher numbers of visitors is a start. With changing business models, perhaps the council could help business adapt with expertise, such as websites. First, of course, ask the businesses what they see as their needs.

QUESTION FOUR: Increased population and encouraging higher numbers of visitors is a start. Perhaps along with the new subdivisions planned by the council, we could investigate developing industrial hubs.


QUESTION ONE: Rural. Not a current councillor.

QUESTION TWO: Correctly paid, but this doesn't take into account all the voluntary hours that councillors put into the job.

QUESTION THREE: I believe that business must take the lead in this area but council should support with things like the business association and promotions in to town, as well as bringing events, a prime example is Oceania Cup, brought in $500,000 spent in the Stratford district.

QUESTION FOUR: Promote what we have, our central location, property prices, security and amenities.


QUESTION ONE: Rural. Not a current councillor.

QUESTION TWO: Ask me in 12 months.

QUESTION THREE: Businesses must have a clean tidy town to survive. Its up to the businesses to thrive.

QUESTION FOUR: We need to advertise to large businesses the advantage of cheaper rental and purchase prices. Stratford is the centre hub of Taranaki and is easy access to North South East and West.


QUESTION ONE: Urban. Not a current councillor.

QUESTION TWO: Correctly paid, however there is an anomaly with the basis on which councillors are remunerated. Taranaki Regional Council councillors, who apparently have a similar workload as Stratford District councillors, are paid considerably more. TRC has a much larger ratepayer base than SDC which is why their councillors are paid more but if the workload is much the same, the remuneration should be similar. It appears to me that most councillors are also heavily involved in a range of groups and organisations in the community in a voluntary capacity.

QUESTION THREE: Improve the look of Broadway between the roundabouts to start with. Verandas and new paint would be a good start. Work with potential development partners to develop new buildings to attract and add to the better quality retailers we already have. Install LED signage to advertise events and other items of interest to the public.

QUESTION FOUR: Promote Stratford to attract more visitors and residents. Develop a new housing subdivision which should be brought forward from the 2017/18 plan. Push to get UFB installed.


QUESTION ONE: Urban. I am a current councillor.

QUESTION TWO: I think it is about correct. The money councillors receive is a pittance for the actual work we do. Any remuneration comes from our ratepayer so there must be a balance. Clearly I did not join council for the money.

QUESTION THREE: Working together with the Business Association and Venture Taranaki to promote Stratford as a great place with plenty to offer. Our commercial rates are low, we have good meter-free parking and a considerable amount of through traffic with reasons to stop and shop.

QUESTION FOUR: Working together with the Business Association and Venture Taranaki to promote Stratford as a great place with plenty to offer. Encourage people to visit through social media.


QUESTION ONE: Urban. I am not a current councillor.

QUESTION TWO: Anyone who does a good job and is an effective asset to any workforce deserves to be paid adequately for his or her time and effort. Nothing in life is free, however I do believe if we are in this particular forum purely for monetary gain then we are in it for the wrong reasons. Many jobs in our community with less responsibility are paid at a higher rate than the average councillor, I would say it is fair and just.

QUESTION THREE: Did not answer this question.

QUESTION FOUR: Did not answer this question.


QUESTION ONE: Urban. I am a current councillor.

QUESTION TWO: Councillors' pay is set by the Remuneration Authority not council. This is calculated on a population base, so councillors are paid much less than in larger areas. For example a Stratford councillor is paid just less than $17,000 a year to govern, prepare for and attend meetings and workshops, represent the district at events and to push Stratford's cause at all times. A councillor in Auckland is paid over $105,000 for the same job!

QUESTION THREE: Keep trying to get Fast Broadband in the district. Make stopping in the CBD pleasant. Work closer with the Stratford Business Association. Offer access to training that will increase capacity to manage businesses successfully.

QUESTION FOUR: A larger emphasis on developing the capacity of our people. This has the potential for huge flow on effect in economic development, efficiency and effectiveness, employment, and well-being.


QUESTION ONE: Rural. Am a current councillor.

QUESTION TWO: If it's about the money, don't put your name forward. On a level playing field we as councillors contribute as much to the welfare of Stratford, as our more illustrious councillors do in New Plymouth.

QUESTION THREE: Be more pro-active, welcome new businesses to town, have a Stratford pack, with maps, directions, etc, of the town, setting out what's available, where all other amenities are.

QUESTION FOUR: Rate rebates are a great incentive. Sell Stratford as there is no other place better to position your business.


QUESTION ONE: Rural. I am not a current councillor.

QUESTION TWO: I would have to say correctly, but I would certainly not want increases as monetary gain should not be the reason for people to stand for council. Personally I would be prepared to do all council work unpaid but realise it would rule out many potential candidates.

QUESTION THREE: A practical way for the council to help business in town is by using the council's present professional staff to help businesses in such things as budgeting, feasibility studies into expansions, etc ... as this would not incur cost to the council but would greatly assist businesses.

QUESTION FOUR: By being business friendly and by removing any unnecessary outdated bylaws, etc, even to the extent such as temporary use of any council vacant land or section that may be available; this could make a lot of difference.


QUESTION ONE: Urban. I am a current councillor.

QUESTION TWO: Councillors are underpaid but if you became a councillor for the money then you are there for the wrong reasons. You do it for the passion and for the betterment of Stratford and to leave a better Stratford for the future generation.

QUESTION THREE: We are currently working on a new economic development plan and with the upgrade of Broadway we hope that this will enhance more visitors.

QUESTION FOUR: We have already purchased land designated for new businesses and making sections affordable so we can attract people here. We need to make it easy so people are able to set up business without too much red tape.


QUESTION ONE: Urban. I am a current councillor.

QUESTION TWO: Personally I am not motivated by remuneration and am pleased that the salary is set by an independent authority. Given the amount of time required any remuneration should fairly recognise both workload and responsibility and not act as a disincentive for wider community involvement.

QUESTION THREE: The Economic Development Plan should empower all businesses in our town / district. The challenge for council is to work with the Stratford Business Association in removing any business impediments, the challenge for the Business Association is become the voice of choice for all Stratford Businesses. Technology allows local business to grow their client base; we need to deliver ultrafast broadband.

QUESTION FOUR: Ensure the Economic Development Plan is fit for purpose and owned by those who will make in work. I would ensure that we tell our stories better; ensure that District Plan sorts out the different zones and engage with the Business Association in a marketing process that celebrates the unique nature of our town and district.


QUESTION ONE: Urban. I am not a current councillor but have previously served as a rural councillor.

QUESTION TWO: Correctly paid.

QUESTION THREE: Did not answer this question.

QUESTION FOUR: Install a cableway to Egmont.


QUESTION ONE: Urban. I am not a current councillor.

QUESTION TWO: Salaries are set by a higher remuneration authority and councillors have no say.

QUESTION THREE: We need to encourage visitors and investment in our town, to promote the cultural aspects of our community. Council should continue to strive to maintain good infrastructures to encourage new businesses, and continue to collaborate with Venture Taranaki with business mentoring.

QUESTION FOUR: Our economic development generally follows national trends. We need to look for new areas for industrial or commercial development.

- Stratford Press

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