Whilst there are clusters of election signs posted all around Wanaka, two candidates are deliberately going signless this campaign. Ed Taylor and Chris Hadfield, both running for the Wānaka Community Board, decided to kiss the eye-sores goodbye.
“I’ve got one left from last year that wasn’t vandalised. I had two others. What’s the point? They’re only going to get vandalised,” said Taylor.
“For two weekends in a row, these signs here [outside the DOC centre] have been vandalised and last weekend it was the signs down by the showgrounds and they’ve got to be replaced, and it’s a cost,” he said.
In the last election, the cost of signage varied between candidates. According to the election expense returns, Calum MacLeod spent $0, Ed Taylor spent $264.50, Quentin Smith spent $543.54, Ruth Harrison spent $937.32 and Jim Boult spent $3404.
Despite being candidates competing for the same seat, the pair are friends who decided to ditch the signs when having coffee at Hadfield’s cafe, Ritual.
The majority of signs are made of corflute (corrugated plastic); and around New Zealand for every council, this equates to a lot of plastic waste. It’s a large plastic load without the vandalism, but when signs need replacing every weekend, the plastic footprint explodes.
Hadfield said it was an easy decision, “For me, it’s a half-half decision. The decision was made when I came into work on Saturday morning and all the signs were vandalised. And also because it’s a lot of plastic.”
How this decision will affect their campaign is unknown. “If you lose by three votes do you think, ‘I should have used a sign?’” Taylor continued.
“Ask me on October 12,” said Hadfield wryly.