17 Aug 2022

No female candidate for New Plymouth mayoral elections

6:24 pm on 17 August 2022

There will be an all male line-up in the eight-way battle for the New Plymouth mayoral chains at October's local body elections.

Neil Holdom.

Neil Holdom, is seeking a third term as mayor. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

It is the first time since 2013 that no woman has put themselves forward.

The incumbent, Neil Holdom, is seeking a third term and will be challenged by three current councillors - Murray Chong, Sam Bennett and Dinnie Moeahu.

Also in the mix are Greg Mackay - who stood unsuccessfully for mayor in 2019 - and businessmen Peter Hargrave and Shaun Clare.

Motorcycle enthusiast Murray McDowell, better known as Muzz or the Mullet Man, provides the left-field interest.

Clare was the last to declare his hand with his nomination arriving in on the last possible day.

Of those mayoral candidates who have laid out their policy platform, Holdom has made delivering on the council's water infrastructure programme a key focus of his campaign, while Bennett has signalled he wants out of the Three Waters if elected.

Chong has pitched the introduction of passenger rail between New Plymouth, Inglewood and Waitara and wants to scrap an extension of the Coastal Walkway to help pay for it.

McDowell and McKay both want to see the introduction of water meters halted.

In keeping with his campaign slogan "He waka eke noa - We're all in this together", Dinnie Moeahu has been holding meetings to hear from voters what they want from council.

In total, the New Plymouth District Council received 77 nominations for the elections.

"As expected, we had a flurry of nominations on the last day, but it's really pleasing to see we have people standing for all positions," said marketing communications and design lead Ben Kohlis.

"There are a lot of big calls the council will need to make in the next three years and beyond, and it's important residents have their say on who governs our district and vote."

Of the 14 seats on council, all but one will be contested.

Current councillor Marie Pearce was the only nomination for the Kōhanga Moa ward (Inglewood and surrounding area) and is elected unopposed.

Also elected unopposed are the four candidates on the Clifton Community Board - Waitaoro Alexandra Batley, Neville Hagensenm, Tyla Nickson and Murray Seamark.

Two women will contest New Plymouth's new Māori Ward - Te Purutanga Mauri Pūmanawa.

Maia Hoengarangi Bailey and Te Waka McLeod have put their names into the ring.

Maia Hoengarangi Bailey is the daughter of celebrated Parihaka kuia Whero O Te Rangi Bailey who died in 2017.

Waitara resident, Te Waka McLeod, recently gained prominence for calling out building company GJ Gardener for the mispronunciation of Taranaki in its television advertising.

Seats up for grabs:

  • New Plymouth District Mayor
  • six councillors in Kaitake/Ngāmotu ward (New Plymouth city to Ōkato)
  • one councillor in North Ward (Waitara to the Waitomo District Council border)​
  • one councillor in the Te Purutanga Mauri Pūmanawa (Māori ward)​
  • five district-wide councillors​
  • Four positions each on the Inglewood, Kaitake, Waitara and Puketapu-Bell Block community boards.

By the numbers:

  • 77 nominations received for the 2022 election
  • Four candidates are running for both mayor and a councillor role
  • Two people running for our first Māori ward Councillor
  • 58 - the number of candidates in the 2019 local body election
  • 45.3 percent voter turnout in 2019