Housing, improving roads and footpaths, finding income from sources other than rates and addressing climate change are amongst the things candidates want the Palmerston North City Council to do more of.
But there are also a range of issues some new candidates might be disappointed to find are beyond local government’s remit to deal with, such as mental health support, tackling youth crime and fixing gaps in the health system.
Only 18 of the 33 council candidates, including the majority of those seeking re-election, responded to a Stuff question on what the council should be doing more about.
The need for more housing was one of the top issues.
It was tagged by sitting councillor Vaughan Dennison, who has a declared interest in affordable housing developer Homes for People.
It was also top of the list for sitting councillor Lorna Johnson, who played a pivotal role in the Papaioea Place social housing development, and in ensuring a $14 million budget for social housing was included in the council’s long-term plan.
Housing was also mentioned by sitting councillors Orphee Mickalad, who saw the council’s role as an enabler, Zulfiqar Butt, and new candidate Jacinta Fraser, who wanted to see more inner-city housing.
It was top priority for council and mayoral candidate Pierre Hussein Kikhounga-Ngot.
The state of roads and footpaths and the need to maintain and improve them was a touch-button issue for many.
The deterioration of roads and footpaths was a major concern, especially for older people and those with disabilities, according to sitting councillor Billy Meehan.
Sitting councillor Lew Findlay wanted more done about footpaths, roads and street lighting, “but I don’t want to go on because all that will do is put rates up”.
Candidate William Wood’s focus was on lobbying to get the regional freight ring road built to get heavy traffic off city streets.
He said the council should also co-ordinate better with utility providers so that roads were not dug up repeatedly.
Sitting councillor Leonie Hapeta said Palmerston North needed more external funding to improve the roads.
She was one of several who said the council should be working harder to attract money from sources other than rates.
Sitting councillor Rachel Bowen said the council needed to attract financial partners for projects, and Mickalad said it should be advocating for central government to improve the way it financed local government.
Bringing down carbon emissions was top of new Green candidate Kaydee Zabelin’s list, along with building resilience in the face of climate change.
Mel Smith had a list, including a skid park, and extending to suicide/crisis support, green spaces and gardening tutorials, but above all, reducing rates.
A more proactive approach to street racers and dealing with youth crime was also supported by Meehan, and Fraser said there should be more investment in youth before young people went the wrong way.
Tania Lamb wanted to see more rubbish bins around the streets and subsidised rubbish bags.
Sitting councillor Karen Naylor, who provided a list of spending lines she had voted against, said greater accountability for rates spending, benchmarking rates to wage increases and cutting wasteful spending were the things the council should do more.
Mike Clement said his three keys were accountability, fiscal responsibility and rates reforms. The council should have been listening more before going ahead with projects the community considered were excessive.
Mark Arnott said the council should keep hold of its Three Waters assets, fix potholes, and work with police to curb antisocial behaviour.
Zakk Rokkanno provided an extensive wishlist with headlines including stronger lines of communication between the individual and council, youth encouragement and resources, strong inner confidence and personal growth and much more.
By Friday, just over 1000 of Palmerston North’s 60,000 electors had cast their votes.