Council candidates front up ahead of by-election

A diverse cross-section of the community has put up their hands to represent the Gore ward in next month’s by-election.

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

A by-election was necessary after Bret Highsted, who won the seat in in October last year, resigned last month.

Ms Adams-Gray said local body party politics had been part of her life growing up, as her father Keith Henderson served as the Mataura borough mayor.

Even when she had not been living in Gore she had followed what was happening at the council.

‘‘I’ve always been interested because this is where I grew up.

‘‘I believe in being proactive.’’

Loyalty and caring for the community were two reasons why she would make a good councillor, she said.

‘‘If you don’t care about what you’re doing, you don’t do a good job.’’

She had worked in teams as a leader and as one of the team.

‘‘I get on well with everybody.’’

Ms Adams-Guy is retired.

Mr Burgess, of Waipahi, is the only candidate who does not live in the district.

Taking part in local body politics was something he had wanted to do and now was good timing for him, Mr Burgess said.

‘‘I’m always interested in people’s interests and always try to be a good advocate for the people.’’

He had a wide range of experience, including owning a Winton rest-home, running a farm and being on the Gold Guitar Awards organising committee.

‘‘I’m not frightened of a challenge.’’

He works as a animal health and soil nutrition specialist.

Mr Byrne served for about 20 years on the Mataura Licensing Trust.

He felt he had something to offer after that governance experience, Mr Byrne said.

He was due to retire, which meant he would not need to do the role part-time.

‘‘I can dedicate myself to the job as a retiree.’’

He was a team player and had the life skills needed.

‘‘I listen and I care about Gore.’’

As an individual councillor a person could not achieve much, he said.

‘‘If you don’t work as a group it will never work.’’

Mr Byrne is employed as a car parts manager.

Former Invercargill police officer Andy Fraser has lived in Gore for about three years.

He and his wife Cheryl Anderson realised what a great place Gore was when she won the overall Gold Guitar award in 2013, Mr Fraser said.

‘‘Just a fantastic place and it’s done a lot for us.’’

He had always wanted to be in local body politics.

‘‘I was brought up to be community-minded and this is next for me.

‘‘I want to be part of this community going forward.’’

Working in the police had given him many skills which would be valuable in the councillor role.

Mr Fraser is working as a sales manager.

He had been very outspoken on the internet about the current affairs in the present council, Mr Hamlin said.

‘‘I believe if you are going to speak up, you need to put up or shut up.’’

This was his motivation for running for council.

When he became ‘‘passionate’’ about an issue he could not keep quiet especially if people were lying or assuming they knew
what was going on when they did not.

Honesty was one of the attributes he had which would make him a good council member.

He had also run his own businesses and had common sense.

‘‘I know how to work with people.’’

Mr Hamlin works as a sales assistant.

Before the local body elections last year many candidates stressed the importance of being transparent, Mr Turipa said

‘‘I’m kind of not seeing that.

‘‘You’ve got to walk the talk.’’

Wanting to see more transparency and for residents to have more input in council decisions was motivating him to run for
council, he said.

He wanted to ‘‘represent the people properly’’.

‘‘I want to make a difference.’’

He had experience being part of committees and was an honest person.

‘‘I know how to focus on getting things straight.’’

Mr Turipa is working in an adult mental healthcare role.

Voting papers will be posted on June 21 and voting closes on July 13.