Towing the party line this election
By David Hammond
Who are you going to vote for in the local government elections on 8 October? Well, a good guide is that provided by the TIA on their website. If you would turn with me to this link (https://tia.org.nz/resources-and-tools/lobbying-toolkid/engage-with-your-council/), let’s see if we can’t find an obvious candidate following the questions provided by TIA.
So I’m at the ‘Meet the Candidates” meeting with my TIA questions. I’ll record the answers from Mr Peter Hayes who is seeking the Mayoralty in Coromandel and once owned a charter business. Would you vote for Peter?
1. Do you support growing tourism in this community?
Answer: “Yep… er, yep. The more tourists we can get into this district the better. There is room in New Zealand for a Gold Coast, an aspirational place that can accommodate as many tourists as we can put in there.”
2. If you are elected, what would you do to improve the competitiveness of our community as a visitor destination?
Answer: “Well I’d get out of the silly partnership we have with our neighbouring councils around tourism. Coromandel first is my election promise to you. Secondly change the District Plan to allow high rises along Whitanga foreshore. Thirdly, change the RTO to be completely industry led.”
3. Do you agree the council should encourage and incentivise tourism as part of regional development strategies? If yes, how should it do this, if not, why not?
Answer: “Our regional economy development strategy done by the Waikato Mayoral Forum basically ignores tourism as an industry for the Waikato. Next question.”
4. Will you support council spending on events to bring visitors into the community?
Answer: “Nope. Last time we did that it was a fail with ratepayers’ money. We already have signature events. They need to be weaned off ratepayer money and be self-supporting.”
5. Do you support the council investing in infrastructure such as public toilets and art galleries?
Answer: “Only if the council puts in place pay-for models. But I don’t support art galleries. They are a money-sink, totally unprofitable and not core business of councils.”
6. Do you see visitors as a benefit or a cost?
Answer: “They are a huge benefit and if voted as your Mayor I will get rid of silly rules that put restrictions on this industry. The first to go will be any bylaws stopping non self-contained vans.”
7. Do you know how much tourism contributes to this community and who benefits?
Answer: “Nope. Do you?”
8. How would you fund investment in tourism infrastructure?
Answer: “That’s why God invented ratepayers. Heh, heh! But seriously folks…”
9. What role does the council have to play in developing a sustainable tourism industry?
Answer: “Well there’s your problem right there. Councils sticking their beaks into other sectors rather than letting them get on with the business or business. The tourism industry is mature enough to act sustainably and self-police.”
10. What role does council have to play in measuring the satisfaction/dissatisfaction of visitors to our community?
Answer: “None. Waste of ratepayer money. Our industry is mature enough that each business measures its own customer satisfaction or it goes out of business.”
OK, do you like the answers from Mayoral Candidate, Peter Hayes? I personally have no idea if the tourism industry would vote for Mr Hayes or not. Please, Chris Roberts, could you put up the right answers to your questions so we know what candidate to vote for. Let’s see when Chris does this whether the industry would vote for the same candidate as him. Now that would be interesting!
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