Matt’s challenge to mayoral candidates

City councillor Matt Cowley is challenging Tauranga’s 10 mayoral candidates to stop campaigning on singular issues and start focussing on the bigger picture.

The 33-year-old launched the ‘Dear Next Mayor’ campaign yesterday, encouraging people to send a message to those vying for the city’s top job to make sure they’re thinking about the wider, long-term issues.

A screen shot from the video title; #DearNextMayor.

Matt, in his first term on Council, began the campaign with an open letter to the successful mayoral candidate daring them to be different and not follow the Joneses.

“I cringe when I think the next mayor could be elected after campaigning on a single issue. I started this campaign knowing Tauranga is guaranteed to have a new Mayor, and I want the successful candidate to be right across the big issues for the benefit of Tauranga. Someone elected on a single issue would struggle to do this,” says Matt.

“We’re in a pivotal time for Tauranga. Let’s stop focusing on quick fixes and start thinking beyond this election.”

Matt Cowley, trying to organise the leadership.

In his letter, Matt addresses growth, vibrancy, rising sea levels, housing, aging populations, and the need for strategic leadership.

“More than 75 percent of the expected 35,000 new residents in the next 15 years will be older than 65 years of age,” he says. “This will impact on how the city’s infrastructure and services will be funded.

“This generation is the first to feel the impacts of climate change, Sydney and Dunedin are recent examples of what is likely to happen in Tauranga if we do nothing.”

He also pushes the need to be different, saying the rationale “other cities have it, so we should have it too’ is the worst to justify building amenities”.

“Following the Joneses will always keep Tauranga in the shadows. We can have nice things, but I hope the new Mayor dares to be different and build on Tauranga’s competitive advantages instead.

“Strong strategic direction is required. We don’t need cheerleaders and we also don’t need a cookie-cutter strategic vision copied from somewhere else.”

As part of the campaign Matt’s gathered messages from the public and released them in a video.

“The people I’ve talked to have been very supportive of getting more people involved in the election, even if they do not want to appear on camera.”

He encourages others to share their message to the next Mayor on social media using #dearnextmayor.

“I hope the community thinks about their future ambitions for Tauranga. The city faces many challenges and opportunities as it continues to grow. And as the voter turnout continues to decrease, this is a chance to spark those important conversations among residents.”

View the full Dear Next Mayor letter here.

Mayoral candidates:

Baldock, Larry (More Democracy Less Bureaucracy)

Brownless, Greg (Independent)

Clout, Kelvin (Energy and Experience)

Guy, Murray (Community Focused Leadership)

Leaming, Hori BOP

Mason, Max (Experienced Positive Leadership)

Morris, Steve (Together we can build a better city)

Owens, Doug (Effectiveness, Efficiency, Growth)

Peterson, Noel James (Independent)

Purches, Graeme (Independent)

Robson, John (Real Change in TCC - Guaranteed)

Mount Maunganui-Papamoa Ward (2 Vacancies)

Brown, Leanne (Looking After Locals)

Harnor, Bob (Independent)

Morris, Steve (Delivering for the Mount and Papamoa)

Stanley, Peter



Posted on 24-08-2016 11:14 | By Colleen Spiro

Lived and worked here all my about you have a few more years to go....Pay my rates too.

City council elections

Posted on 24-08-2016 00:05 | By Theodorus

There is an old Dutch saying and is translated in English is:To be promised a lot and giving very little or nothing makes FOOLS happy and rejoicing!(by Theodorus)

Jimmy Ehu

Posted on 23-08-2016 21:59 | By FunandGames

Got to agree with you, our Mayor wasn’t up to controlling the Stephen Town Clark, sorry CEO. CEO’s earn more than Town Clark’s

@ Jimmy Ehu

Posted on 23-08-2016 21:40 | By Captain Sensible

You are so so so correct re Stephen Town.


Posted on 23-08-2016 18:26 | By Colleen Spiro

two things....1. your comments are not always sensible. 2. Non de plumes peeve me off....Use your OWN NAME.


Posted on 23-08-2016 16:22 | By Jimmy Ehu

so Matt my man, what have you achieved in your tenure so far?, I agree with the bullshtalert comment!, and Colleen many a good person has fought the good fight for our city, to me Stephen ( man about) Town was the instigator of our decline into a cess pit of debt, he’ll look what he has done to Auckland!, and we with a majority of weak councillors at the time let him get away with it, a toxic little man who has left a legacy of over staffing and unmageable deft!, so Matt sorry but show me some substance not just more political rhetoric please.

Awesome work

Posted on 23-08-2016 12:42 | By Peanut2289

It’s so cool to see someone challenge these candidates to look at the bigger picture in a unique, clever way! Go Matt! Let’s stop squabbling and take a second to appreciate the effort put into this. Let’s hope the next mayor listens!


Posted on 23-08-2016 12:22 | By Capt_Kaveman

Matt gets in on a younger voice, but over the last 3 years brings up issues but does nothing to fix them, he asks the public what to do, now tells the new mayor to target problems that they all could have done over the last term but have done very little to achieve it,the mayor is only one vote just like the rest

@ Colleen Spiro

Posted on 23-08-2016 11:20 | By Crash test dummies

Obviously with the very large debt in Tauranga, the level of work or its usefulness has been a bit short of the mark. But don’t worry, you can just walk away and leave the next generation to pay the debt off and more rates.

@ Colleen Spiro

Posted on 23-08-2016 10:54 | By Captain Sensible

What makes you think I am not going to email them? Why the need for the attack on my name? Why jump to such conclusions with no facts?

@ Colleen Spiro

Posted on 23-08-2016 10:50 | By Captain Sensible

I am in the process. Please don’t feel that you need to tell me what to do. Thanks.

@Captain not so sensible

Posted on 23-08-2016 09:59 | By Colleen Spiro

Some Councillors do not read these comments so EMAIL THEM collectively.I’m feeling a guilty for getting old, but what these young people seem to forget is that our generation and other generations worked bloody hard for Tauranga.

question for all

Posted on 23-08-2016 08:18 | By Captain Sensible

I ask all mayoral candidates for their views on race based appointments that circumvent the democratic process. Please let us all know if you agree with that or disagree, and if you do disagree, what will you do to stop it from happening?.

Clarity from Matt needed

Posted on 23-08-2016 08:01 | By BullShtAlert

Could Matt clearly state what he thinks needs to be done, when and how? So far this is general bureaucratic speak and I’d like some actual plans

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