First livestreamed debate for mayoral contest

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The Nelson Weekly and Nelson App will host what is thought to be the first ever livestreamed mayoral debate next month in preparation for this year’s local government elections.

The debate will pit the five major mayoral candidates against each other – Rachel Reese, Mel Courtney, Tim Skinner, Bill Dahlberg and Mike Ward – in a format that is sure to challenge each of them on the issues they are standing for.

The debate will be held at The Workshop Bar and Brewery on New St on September 22 – the weekend where voting papers will start arriving in people’s letterboxes.

Weekly editor Charles Anderson says that he hopes the event takes some of the perceived stuffiness out of local body politics.

“While Nelson had the highest voter turnout in the 2016 election, that was still only 52 percent of the population. Part of this has to do with people not being engaged with the process.”

Charles says by hosting the debate in a bar, people who might not ordinarily be interested in such an event might feel more comfortable in learning more about those who are looking to lead the city.

He says it is also a way to show that the Weekly and its sister publication, The Nelson App, is serious about covering the region.

“We believe this to be the first time there has been a debate quite like this, and definitely the first time it has been livestreamed.”

The debate will be streamed to the Nelson Weekly and Nelson App’s Facebook pages, which have more than 20,000 followers combined.

“It’s a really great addition to the election coverage our publications are providing and gives people an option to watch the event from the comfort of their own homes.”

Producer Dylan Galletly, of Total Pro, is fresh off creating six similar live events across the top of the South Island and says the format is great to get maximum engagement in the content.

“You can open up the conversation to thousands more people who can’t attend in person.”

This year’s elections promise to be one of the most eagerly fought in recent years with a host of mayoral and council candidates putting their hand up to be considered.

Charles says, questions for the debate will be made up from those submitted by Weekly readers. “We want you to email us with questions you’d like us to ask the candidates. We have the opportunity to put questions to them on your behalf.”

Email your questions to editorial@nelsonweekly.co.nz.

The Nelson Weekly Mayoral Debate will be held at The Workshop on September 22 at 7.30pm. Entry is first come first served. For full candidate coverage head to page 16-20 or check out the Nelson App’s election button.