Putting themselves forward. . . Gore ward by-election candidates (from left) Brendon Burgess, Andy Fraser, Steven Hamlin, Liz Adams-Gray introduced themselves to an audience of about 40 residents at a meeting hosted by the Rotary Club of Gore on Monday night. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Gore ward residents had the chance to get to know the candidates who have put their hands up to stand in this month’s by-election.

Liz Adams-Gray, Brendon Burgess, Alan Byrne, Andy Fraser, Steven Hamlin and Reuben Turipa will contest the Gore District by-election.

A by-election was necessary after Bret Highsted, who won the seat in October’s election, resigned in April.

There were about 40 residents at the meeting which was attended by four of the six candidates.

Mr Byrne and Mr Turipa were unavailable to attend.

The meeting was hosted by the Rotary Club of Gore and chaired by member Phil Reid.

The candidates had three minutes to introduce themselves and then answered questions from the audience.

Candidates were asked what they would like to see in the district plan and why?

The district plan is the council’s resource management strategy for the district and shows how the council will control the effects of activities and development within its area.

Mrs Adams-Gray said she loved trees and would like to see any spare land planted in trees.

Mr Burgess said the key in the challenging times was the council’s debt.

‘‘In the long term plan I would like to see Gore look at its rates.’’

Mr Hamlin said the footpaths were a priority for him.

‘‘That’s something small but should be achievable.’’

Mr Fraser said he believed the district plan should be ‘‘fiscally responsible and achievable’’.

‘‘The last thing we want is another 11.56% rate increase.’’

When candidates were asked what three things they would like to work towards in their term in council to future›proof the district the answers varied.

Mr Burgess said he wanted to create a positive working environment in the council, reduce debt loading and to use the present publicity the district was getting to show the positive side of living here.

Mr Hamlin said he would like to work towards keeping young people in the town, to maintain the resources the district already had and help people learn to work together.

Mr Fraser said he wanted to see the council’s debt under control, maintain the services the town already had and for the different groups in the community to work together.

Mrs Adams-Gray said she would like to see more trees planted, residents encouraged to collect rain water in tanks and she would like to see industry growth in the town.

One question dealt with whether they thought they had the skills to work on the council and support Mayor Ben Bell.

All the candidates said they believed they did.

However, all said it would not just be the mayor they supported but all councillors as being on the council was a team effort.

Voting papers will be posted today and voting closes on July 13.