Election season begins

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Election nominations for Nelson city’s councillors and mayor have now closed and the sight of hoardings manning our streets will become the norm for the next two months.

In total, 31 people have put their hands up to become councillors, with eight of them seeking re-election. There will be at least four new people at the table with Paul Matheson, Stuart Walker and Luke Acland all deciding not to stand while Bill Dahlberg is only running for mayor.

Dozens of signs are now dotted around the city streets as part of the candidates’ campaigns. Those in the council and mayoral race are allowed to spend a maximum of $30,000 on their promotions as part of strict rules that govern the campaign. Candidates are not permitted to retain anonymous donations exceeding $1500 and each candidate is required to keep a record of all campaign election expenses.

They are also only allowed 10 signs, known as hoardings, that are meant to be a maximum of .75cm2 per sign.

Last election over 50 hours of council staff time was spent monitoring signs and responding to complaints on election signs.

This year, the council’s group manager of environmental management, Clare Barton, says that they have already had a number of complaints in relation to election signage.

Mel Courtney, who is running for mayor and council, says he is one of those who have been complained about when he put a sign on a road reserve land at the corner of Melrose Terrace and Trafalgar Street.

“I am surprised that someone has complained that my ‘V’ shaped sign is on road reserve. I have been told to remove the sign and I will. It’s positioned in exactly the same place I had it erected three years ago but as Mother Teresa once said, ‘it doesn’t matter’.”

He suggests council looks more closely at State Highway 6 along Rocks Rd, where signs should be five meters back from the edge of the carriageway.

Mel is joined by Tim Skinner, Rachel Reese, Bill Dahlberg, Mike Ward, John Wakelin and Avner Nahmias in the mayoral race.

For council it is a stacked field with current councillors Tim Skinner, Ian Barker, Kate Fulton, Matt Lawrey, Brian McGurk, Gaile Noonan and Mike Rutledge running. Other people who are standing include Yvonne Bowater, Trudie Brand, Allen Chambers, Dennis Christian, Alastair Cotterill, Glen Daikee, Sunny Daly-Keenan, Judene Edgar, Bernie Goldsmith, Owen J Houliston, Robbie Kavanagh, Luke King, Stephen Lindup, Dai Mitchell, Harry (Howard) Morris, Graeme O’Brien, Rohan O’Neill-Stevens, Pete Rainey, Campbell Rollo, Rachel Sanson, Anjela Sharma, Virat Vij and Mike Ward.

Councillors are paid a base of $39,686 while the mayor is paid $144,500. Among other things, their responsibilities include formulating the council’s strategic direction and relative priorities, determining the expenditure and funding requirements of council activities and monitoring the on-going performance of council. The closing date for people to send in their choices is October 12.