Mahé Drysdale on mayoralty bid: 'I'm running to make Tauranga NZ's best small city'

9:00 am on 20 May 2024
Mahé Drysdale showing off his medal after winning gold at the London Olympics in 2012.

Mahé Drysdale showing off his medal after winning gold at the London Olympics in 2012. Photo: Photosport

Olympic rower Mahé Drysdale is running to be Tauranga's next mayor to make it New Zealand's "best small city".

The two-time Olympic gold medalist announced he was running for the job at the weekend and would need to beat out singer Ria Hall, former deputy mayor Tina Salisbury and resident Chudleigh Haggett.

He would also need to beat his own uncle, Doug Owens.

Dysdale, 45, told Morning Report he and Owens had a different range of views but it would be up to Tauranga to decide who they liked best for the top job.

"I'm running to make Tauranga New Zealand's best small city."

Drysdale said he was very focused on a positive future for the city and doing what it takes to make Tauranga reach its potential.

He said he was "very central" in his political views and supported people who could deliver.

"That's very much what I believe in and what I want to do as a councillor for Tauranga."

Drysdale said the council had a role in helping provide housing in Tauranga - an issue that has been widely reported on in the past.

He said Cambridge, where he currently lived, had a housing trust that came up with innovative solutions to deliver affordable housing to people who wanted to get ahead.

Tauranga could use something similar, he said, and although the housing problem should not solely be council's to fix, it could help.

This could include donating land and helping out providers.

A lack of social housing was a country-wide problem, Drysdale said, and given a lack of land in Tauranga, he said he would like to see high density housing in the city.

"It's a country-wide problem and we are going to have to work with central government on it as well because we can't fund it all out of rates."

In regard to Maori wards, Drysdale said he did not have a strong view - but he wanted to see a wide range of views around the table.

"If we can have representation, then that's fantastic. Overall, I want to work with everyone in the community for a better Tauranga," he said.

"I don't want one group or another having the major say.

"I want to deliver for Tauranga and everyone involved in that and iwi will be an important stakeholder in that."

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