Strong rural voices needed

Waitaki mayor Alex Familton’s decision to not seek re-election after earlier saying he would seek a thrid term.

This has opened up the District’s mayoral race.

Until now only one serious contender, former deputy mayor Gary Kircher, had announced he would contest the mayoralty.

But now the sitting mayor is standing down people who weren’t prepared to challenge him, including the current deputy, Jim Hopkins might stand.

Alex was a farmer and the council is losing another rural voice.

Corriedale ward councillor Kevin Malcolm has also announced he’s not standing again.

Our ward has two councillors but the other one, Geoff Keeling stood down earlier this year, and the council opted not to replace him.

It had the right to do that given the proximity of elections but it has left the council one rural voice short.

Property based rates impose much higher costs on farms.

We pay a greater proportion of rates but there are fewer of us which makes it even more important to have strong rural voices on councils.

But Keeling’s resignation and Malcolm’s decision not to seek re-election were both largely due to the difficulty of balancing council commitments with work and family.

Those pressures will be on the minds of others who might seek to stand and no-one could blame them if that puts them off.




18 Responses to Strong rural voices needed

  1. TraceyS says:

    I admire the way Alex and Heather work together publicly. Let’s hope the next mayor is just as iconic but in his or her own way!

  2. Neil says:

    I thought Alex Familton was ther ex-Principal of East Otago High, one of those dreaded teachers.
    Ele I’m a bit disappointed to see your attitude which mirrors many of the silo mentality attitudes some rural people have towards urban communities

  3. homepaddock says:

    Yes, he was the principal but also a farmer.

    I’m not saying there should only be a rural voice, Neil. Just that we need strong representation because the weight of numbers favours urban voters.

  4. robertguyton says:

    If the urban sector has more voters, surely their needs are greater too. That’s democracy, isn’t it?

  5. Andrei says:

    The urban sector cannot exist without the rural sector, Robert Guyton.

  6. Neil says:

    However Ele, farmers are business people and get the same concessions as urban business people like getting gst back on rates and the rates are tax deductible.Mere urbanistas like myseld just don’t. Those tax concessions reduce rural rates considerably. As well, many mixed urban-rural councils use the full 30% for uniform annual charges for all, most effecting low income urban ratepayers
    Let there be good debate on council about matters, not locked into rural-urban stereotypes.
    A few rural councillors see spending on urban affairs as being a waste of council money. An attractive town like Oamaru and Gore, means that rural dwellers,especially wives and children will have somewhere to enjoy the sweeter things in life.

  7. robertguyton says:

    Good lord, Andrei, I’d never, ever considered that! I’ll have to rethink my every utterance.

  8. robertguyton says:

    “However Ele, farmers are business people and get the same concessions as urban business people like getting gst back on rates and the rates are tax deductible.”

    Oh, Neil, now you’re playing dirty! Country folk don’t like to have that sort of fact broadcast, especially when they’re crying ‘foul’ over rate increases.

  9. robertguyton says:

    To add to the mix, I know many, many farmers who have retired to the previously-despised towns and are enjoying the lifestyle there very much indeed. Their RFE* goes into those much maligned sewerage systems also.

    *Retired Farmer Effluent

  10. TraceyS says:

    I think this is a good idea.

  11. TraceyS says:

    Thanks, but I’m not really a horsey person.

  12. robertguyton says:

    I wasn’t offering you my horse, Tracey, i was offering further evidence of my rural connections. Remember, you asked about those earlier and I responded with a list of farming activities that I’d been involved with over time. You didn’t respond, sadly. I thought you might like to comment on that.

  13. TraceyS says:

    It seemed an odd link, not related at all to this post. I’m not sure your explanation makes it any more relevant either.

  14. robertguyton says:

    Rural/Urban. With which voice do we speak. I live at the boundary of the village, with farmland on the otherside of my fence. Not to far then, from the Centre of the Universe.

  15. Mr E says:

    Robert the farmer….?
    Yeah Nah!

    Mr E

  16. Mr E says:

    Robert! Can you please stop picking on the towns folk and go back to picking on farmers?
    Mr E

  17. jabba says:


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