Better Democracy NZ is a non-partisan, non-profit organisation.

Our mission is to foster the improvement of New Zealand's democratic system and encourage the use of direct democracy through the

Veto, Citizens' Initiated and Recall referendum.


Monday, 13 September 2010

Mayoral candidate will take no wages

Waipa mayoral candidate Steve Baron says he will refuse a wage for his first term if he's elected to the post in October.

Mr Baron, a retired businessman studying for a double major in economics and political science at Waikato University, is standing on a "slash and burn ticket" of cutting rates through having Waipa District Council concentrate just on core services.

He is also advocating use of binding referendums as he contests the mayoralty against incumbent Alan Livingston, deputy mayor Peter Lee and Te Awamutu lawyer James Parlane.

"I won't be taking a wage in my first term because I am doing this for the right reason," Mr Baron said. "Even in the second term it would be debatable. By then the question might be asked whether the mayor should get a wage."

It will be Mr Baron's debut on the hustings at local body level, though he has been in politics for more 30 years and finished a very credible third as an independent candidate in the 2005 general election in the Pakuranga electorate, attracting nearly 6000 votes.

While the council was efficient in some spheres, Mr Baron said there were still cuts to be made.

"Even if it means we don't have the nicest gardens in Cambridge and Te Awamutu. We need to get back to core services.

"Rates have become a real burden on people because the focus of this council has been on spending.

"We have community boards giving ratepayer money away to knitting clubs. We have spent $2 million on a local pool complex (Cambridge) and not a sod of earth has been turned. This is not a white elephant, it is a white mammoth."

He also opposed construction of a new museum-theatre complex in Te Awamutu.

"If people really want their rates reduced these are the type of things we have to stop building."

He said a referendum would be ideal for measuring whether residents wanted such a facility.

"It's not good enough that people don't get a say. This is an ideal time for voters to give guidance."

Meanwhile rival mayoral candidate James Parlane backed Mr Baron's referendum call for the museum.

"The public have never been given a formal avenue to show they don't want this project," he said. "Even our local paper (Te Awamutu Courier) is too timid to run a poll on it.

"There is some support for a museum, but nothing like the grandiose design that has been chosen."

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