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Topp takes Tasker to task

Topp takes Tasker to task
Western Ward candidates (from left) Rob Mackle, Hayden Tasker, and Carol Johns watch on as Lynda Topp speaks at the meet-the-candidates event in Methven on Tuesday night.

Dame Lynda Topp has called out a fellow Western Ward candidate for not living in the ward at a meet-the-candidates event in Methven.
About 40 people turned out to hear from candidates at the Mt Hutt Memorial Hall on Tuesday night.
The four candidates covered a range of topics, from rates and water to their council credentials.
Topp called Hayden Tasker out for living outside the ward and if he would “support the Western Ward rather than Ashburton if it came to the crunch”.
Tasker, who lives in Ashburton, said while he doesn’t live in the ward, he knows almost every corner of it from his years as an agricultural contractor.
“It would be fair to say I’m pretty familiar with the Western Ward,” Tasker said.
“I’ve spent more of my life under the foothills than I have in Ashburton, and I’ve got a pretty good understanding of this district.”
All four candidates had failed in their election bids last year, but have stepped forward again in the Western Ward by-election to fill the vacancy left after Rodger Letham passed away in December.
Dame Lynda presented a Methven-centric, Western Ward focus approach in her pitch to become a district councillor.
“Ashburton is a service town for the people of Methven, Mt Somers and Mayfield, and for the other main providers in the Western Ward, and that is farmers, contractors, earthmovers, and trucking firms.
“[The council] needs to put more money into this community, not take it out through unfair rate rises.
“That we pay more rates than Ashburton and do not have a sustainable and safe drinking water system is a crime.”
Topp acknowledged the council had spent millions upgrading the water, but said once completed, if there was another boil water notice it would be a failure.
She is concerned about the council taking on the role of district promotion and critical of its decision not to increase the budget – an act which would have caused a rate increase.
Tasker said that he would “do his homework” and make prudent decisions on the council.
As the son of former councillor Bev Tasker and former deputy mayor Roger Tasker, he said he had been engineered to be a councillor.
Rob Mackle said if elected he would only represent one vote on the council so wasn’t going to make empty promises.
“Farming and my life, in general, have taught me how to dig deep when the going gets tough.
“Consistency, communication, and perseverance are the keys that will see our ward continue to grow and prosper.”
Carol Johns said as a representative she would aim to be a voice for the people on the council.
The voting opens on April 20 and closes on May 12.

  • By Jonathan Leask