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Napier community speed dates council candidates ahead of elections

The candidates dressed to impress, and fairy lights set the mood, as people from the Napier community tried their hand at speed-dating to find someone to run their city.

“I just wanted to have a fun way to bring people together and hear those candidates in a more informal way rather than standing on a stage and speaking to them.” event organiser Deborah Burnside told 1 NEWS.

Voters, armed with questions, put Napier's council candidates through their paces with no love lost.

“There is some curly questions there so it’s really put some people on the spot,” Ms Burnside says.

Among them - those gunning for the vacant mayoralty, with water the one topic on everyone's lips.

Some Napier households have experienced dirty water since chlorine was added to the supply two years ago.

It's stirred up matter in the pipes and many now want it gone.

Chris Tremain a former National cabinet minister isn't committed to its immediate removal.

“There is a risk to our current water supply, we have 432 kilometres of pipes and some 20 per cent water loss so we need to fix that first.”

Former Manawatu councillor Steve Gibson wants action now.

“Only one per cent of water is drunk, the rest goes down the toilet the washing or other ways, perhaps we need to subsidies filters and therefore we can take the chlorine out immediately.”

Removing the chemical could cost over $150 million and take ten years.

But two-term councillor Kirsten Wise says it shouldn't have to take as long or cost as much.

“First step, let’s look at what Christchurch City Council is doing. They have already undertaken a full review of their network and they are also an aquifer network and they are moving towards chlorine free.”

Napier city retailer David Hannay couldn’t make the evening due to a open heart surgery.

He's been unsuccessfully running for the council for the last 24 years but maintains he's still well and truly in the race for mayor.


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Speed dating has been given a political twist. Source: 1 NEWS