14 Sep 2010

Six seek top job in Hamilton

9:45 am on 14 September 2010

Six people are chasing the position of Mayor in Hamilton in next month's local elections.

The candidates range from current Mayor Bob Simcock seeking another term, to a long-time councillor, a lawyer and an adult entertainer.

In the first opinion poll conducted by The Waikato Times six weeks before the election, Mr Simcock was well in front - 37% to new comer, Julie Hardaker's 11%. Long-term councillor Roger Hennebry was on 10%.

Interestingly, 37% said they are still undecided.

Some 418 residents were questioned and the margin of error was plus or minus 4.8%.

Mr Simcock wants to wear the mayoral chain for a bit longer, citing unfinished business as his motivation.

He believes the main issue should be planning for future growth in the city.

Burgeoning debt is certainly a driver behind Mr Hennebry seeking the office.

He says the debt is likely to be just over $400 million by the end of this financial year.

Mr Hennebry says he wants to bring a more business-aproach to running the city, with the support of his Rates Control team..

Ms Hardaker is a lawyer and is newbie to city politics. She wants to be mayor to bring a 'fresh face' and 'new ideas' to city hall.

Mr Simcock says the council has worked well as a team over the last two-terms and he hopes that won't change.

Ms Hardaker says she believes too many decisions are made by council officers and not by people elected to council.

Lone voice

Mr Hennebry says he's been a lone voice for nine years plugging away about rising debt and this election he decided to try for the Mayoralty supported by a full ticket for council under the Rates Control banner.

The three other mayoral candidates are community radio presenter, Andrew Johnstone, Jack Gielen from the Republican Movement and adult entertainer Lisa Lewis.

Her real claim to fame was streaking at an All Black match in Hamilton in 2006.

Overall, 39 candidates are standing for the 12 places on the council.