Who will be mayor?

There will be 11 lumpy throats leaning over the cereal bowl this morning as candidates for Tauranga's mayoralty prepare themselves for the verdict expected from 3pm today.

Who will be the next mayor?

Voters have until noon Saturday, October 8, to place completed voting papers into ballot boxes available at all Tauranga City Council city libraries and council offices.

In the meantime – according to someone who's been there five times before and won the last four – there will be 11 mayoralty candidates who want it all to be over.

“I can only speak from my own experiences and they have been numerous,” says outgoing Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby, who has been in the top job for 12 years since being elected in October 2004.

“Even talking to candidates up until today they are kind of hanging out for Saturday – it's a long haul since the time you decide to nominate.

“And if you're doing signs – it's a lot of hard work every morning every night going and checking them. “The public meetings and candidates meeting – it can be incredibly tiring and you get to the point you want it over.”

A record 11 candidates are running this year, compared to six in 2013. This time round Larry Baldock, Greg Brownless, Kelvin Clout, Murray Guy, Hori BOP Leaming, Max Mason, Steve Morris, Doug Owens, Noel Peterson, Graeme Purches and John Robson are looking for success.

And there's 11 Tauranga council seats being contested by 33 candidates. In the Western Bay of Plenty District, five people – Gwenda Merriman​, Mike Lally, Don Thwaites, Garry Webber and Kevin Tohiariki –are contesting the mayoralty and 20 candidates running for 11 council seats.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Tauranga General Constituency has five seats – with eight nominees putting their hands up. While the BOPRC Western Bay of Plenty General Constituency's two seats only received nominations by Norm Bruning and Jane Nees, which has seen electoral officer Lucinda Butt elect the pair unopposed.

Seven elected positions on the Bay of Plenty District Health Board are being contested by 20 people.

“I believe a lot of them will be waiting for Saturday to come along and get a result one way or the other, says Stuart, who reckons the last week-and-a-half of campaigning “is rather tedious”. “They [the candidates] will probably be emotionally drained and looking for a result.

“Come Saturday morning you probably wouldn't start to get the butterflies or anticipation – I never used to – until about 11am.

“You know you'll never get a result [early] – this year I understand until 3pm. So there's no point getting overexcited.”

Stuarts says about 11am he'd start getting excited “and the question would still be I my head, would I be elected or would I not be elected?”.

Previously, the newly-elected would get a phone call to receive the news “but now I understand it goes up on the internet”.

“You know when that phone goes and it's the election officer – those first few seconds…your heart does start to pound,” says Stuart. “Is it yes or is it no?

“That was how I felt and I was fortunate enough to hear good news four times in a row.”

But he never felt like he had it in the bag. “There's always a bit of uncertainty because the electorate – you just can't pick it.

“And this election in particular – I have no idea who's going to win. It could be one of three or four or possibly five. This one will be very interesting.

“And also for the [election of] councillors – because it's not just about a mayor. It's about a mayor and councilors and that's what I've been telling everyone over the last two weeks – think about the package, not just the individual.”

To the candidates reading The Sun, Stuart says: “Be prepared to win emotionally and be prepared to lose”.

“I remember I lost the first time round and I thought I had it in the bag and I didn't – so that was a salutary lesson in don't get your hopes up too high.”

And for the last four local body elections, which dawn right on the motorsport season, Stuart would busy himself with his hobby to pass time on the Saturday morning.

“If I wasn't at home I'd be doing something like working on a race a car – something to take your mind off the forthcoming announcement.”

And there was no big family get-together at Stuart's place after losing the first time round. “I decided not to do that again – instead to celebrate or commiserate with immediate family in the first instance.”

And does it impact candidates' families? “I think for first-time candidates – and there's a number this time for mayor and council – it would be more challenging for families as well.

“Because it's the first time many have been in the media or on-stage – and that does have ramifications through your whole family. When they see your picture in the paper and people are talking about you.

“But if you want to be a politician that's all part of the business.”

Check out Sunlive.co.nz throughout Saturday and Sunday as election results for TCC, WBOPDC and Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Bay of Plenty District Health Board are released.



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Sunset turning the water pink. Photo: Lee Badham.

Send us your photos from around the Bay of Plenty. kendra@thesun.co.nz