Tauranga City Council nominations off to a slow start

8:05 pm on 17 May 2024
Tauranga City, from the air.

Tauranga residents will elect a mayor and nine councillors on 20 July. Photo: Supplied/ LDR - TECT Rescue Helicopter

Only 14 people have put their hands up to stand in the Tauranga City Council elections so far.

With a week to go until nominations close for the elections on 20 July, there were four candidates for the mayoralty and 10 for councillor seats, by 16 May - doubled since 15 May.

The election signals a return to locally-elected city leaders after a commission took over Tauranga's dysfunctional council three years ago.

Nominations for the mayor are singer Ria Hall, former deputy mayor Tina Salisbury and Chudleigh Haggett. Businessman and former Bay of Plenty Regional councillor Doug Owens also has his nomination in.

Ward councillor hopefuls are Teresa Killian in the Arataki Ward, Felicity Auva'a and Gerry Hodgson in the Bethlehem Ward, Ronald Chamberlain and Jim McKinlay in the Matua-Otūmoetai ward.

Chudleigh Haggett and Rod Taylor are running in the Te Papa ward, Marten Rozeboom in the Tauriko ward and Ethan Brinkman and Cameron Templer are standing in the Welcome Bay ward.

There are not yet any candidate nominations for the Mount Maunganui and Pāpāmoa wards or the Te Awanui Māori ward.

Five other candidates have announced they will be running but are yet to put in their nominations.

Former councillor John Robson told the Bay of Plenty Times he planned to run for mayor and in the Bethlehem ward.

Tauranga City Council customer service centre.

Nominations for the Tauranga City Council elections close on 24 May. Photo: LDR/ SunLive - John Borren

Former councillor Larry Baldock announced his intention to stand in the Pyes Pa ward in March.

Tauranga lawyer Jim Smith told Local Democracy Reporting on Monday that he planned to run as a councillor.

Former councillors Heidi Hughes and Steve Morris also told the Bay of Plenty Times they planned to run in the election. Hughes will stand in the Mount Maunganui Ward.

This year's election will be under a new governance model with a mayor and nine councillors to be elected. It will also be the first time the city has had a Māori ward.

The elected council will replace the four-person commission led by Anne Tolley, which has been in place since February 2021. The previous council was deposed by former Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta because of infighting and significant governance issues.

Salisbury, Baldock, Hughes, Morris and Robson were part of the council elected in 2019 that was discharged of its duties by Mahuta.

TCC strategy, growth and governance general manager Christine Jones said the council encourages anyone who would like to stand to allow enough time to complete their nomination form and get it checked to ensure it is valid.

Asked if the council was concerned about the number of nominations so far, Jones replied: "We anticipate a number of nominations will come in just before the closing date."

Nominations close at midday on Friday, 24 May.

Local Democracy Reporting is Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air.

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