Mayor unimpressed with political point scoring tactics

South Taranaki District Council Mayor Ross Dunlop has branded the interview between Bryan Vickery and Mayoral candidate, Craig Baylis, as political point scoring that he does not support.

On Tuesday, Mayor hopeful and retail store owner, Craig Baylis sat down with Brian Vickery on the Hokonui Taranaki radio show to discuss Hawera’s only known squatter Derek.

The controversial interview gained a lot of attention on Facebook and the video interview has been viewed near 9,000 times since being published.

In an emailed statement, Mayor Ross Dunlop said the Council has been working for some time to try to improve this situation and living on the street is not good for Derek and not good for the community.

We have supported the work of the Police, Social agencies, Whanau and Iwi in trying to get a better outcome and this work is ongoing, said Dunlop.

We are investigating some new government funding for helping the homeless.

I have been surprised and heartened by those that care about Derek’s welfare and do not want a heavy-handed approach. It says to me that this is a caring community and that people care about each other. – Dunlop

Mayoral candidate Craig Baylis visited Derek on Wednesday with his sister to discuss his situation and find an alternative to his current situation.

In the post to Baylis’s campaign Facebook page, it said that everyone has an opinion on the street dwellers in our community but he felt it necessary to go to the source.

My sister Nadine and I spoke with Derek about his health and safety and as to why he has chosen this lifestyle. I will be in touch with the Salvation Army today as this cold snap seems to have been hard on him. Make no mistake I feel strongly that we should not accept living on the street as a viable lifestyle choice and as I said should I be successful in local government I will use all the resources available to discourage this life choice as an option in South Taranaki. – Baylis

South Taranaki District Council mayoral candidate Phil Nixon said he believes a bylaw is not the appropriate way to deal with the situation we have in Hāwera.

Bylaws tried in other parts of the country have proven to be ineffective and difficult to enforce, because you are dealing, in most cases, with people who are trying to cope a range of complex issues. In some cases these bylaws have ended up in court which is another cost for ratepayers.

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