A dame, a former property developer, the great-great-grand daughter of the first Māori king, the deputy mayor, a past city councillor, and a high-profile businessman are all jumping into the Tauranga mayoralty race along with incumbent Mayor Greg Brownless.
Nominations for Tauranga City Council candidates for Mayor and Councillors open on July 19, 2019, but the race has already got underway with seven mayoral candidates announcing their intention to run the city.
Deputy Mayor Kelvin Clout, Murray Guy, RangiMarie TeAmopui-Kaa Kingi, Tenby Powell, Dame Susan Devoy, and Danny Cancian have all put their hats in the ring to go after the mayoral chains.
Greg Brownless, currently Mayor of Tauranga City
“I believe people see me as a voice of moderation and common sense,” says Greg, reflecting on his past term as Mayor of Tauranga. “I’m someone who puts his money where his mouth is.
“I feel that I bring quite a bit of balance and adopt pragmatic decisions where possible. You can’t be devoid of business sense, but to be Mayor you need to be an all-rounder.
“To me the community is about more than business. Business is important but there’s a lot more to it.”
Greg donated the businesses he established to a charitable trust, with the result that millions of dollars have now been given from the Legacy Funeral Trust to local community groups.
During his term as Mayor, he saw there was going to be a shortfall at the Papamoa Surf Life Saving Club so took $10,000 of his own money and donated it to the club.
“That’s come off my council salary, out of my own pocket.”
He decided to stand for Mayor when he knew that the previous Mayor Stuart Crosby wasn’t seeking re-election.
“In my mind if you want to do the job properly you have to be here,” says Greg. “You can’t be doing it from home, you can’t be doing it from Auckland or wherever else you might live. You have to be here.
“I thought I could make a difference and run this city in an efficient way that was fair to most people.
“Obviously I’ve struck quite a difficult time. I believe I’m doing well under the circumstances and things could always be better.
“I am instrumental in making changes. We’ve got a long way to go. I think if that can be kept up through the next term, the new council, then that would be great.
“If I‘m the mayor great, if I’m not then I hope the next Council keeps that change going.”
Kelvin Clout, currently Deputy Mayor of Tauranga City
Tauranga Deputy Mayor Kelvin Clout feels after six years as deputy mayor he’s more than ready to step up as Tauranga's mayor in 2019. Kelvin and his family moved to Tauranga about 30 years ago, with both Kelvin and his wife Kathryn running businesses in the city.
Tauranga Deputy Mayor Kelvin Clout
“I’ve now got six years of experience which I think is invaluable when it comes to local government,” says Kelvin.
“You can have a lot of experience in the business world or central government agencies, but local government is a very specific beast, and it’s something that takes a lot to get your head around. I certainly feel like I’ve done my apprenticeship and I’m definitely ready to step up to the top job.
“The mayor’s role in my view is to bring unity among the councillors, to set a broad direction for the city, and to get the maximum buy-in from the community. Once we’ve done that then we instruct the chief executive and the organisation to fulfil those wishes.
“I’m very positive for the city,” says Kelvin. “I’m not a reckless spender but I’m certainly keen to invest wisely for the betterment of the city, and that is in terms of hard infrastructure which we all know needs money spent on it but also some of those more softer community infrastructure assets and facilities.
“I absolutely believe that Tauranga is New Zealand’s most desirable city and we need to keep it that way.
“I’ve learned a lot about what to do but I’ve also learned some valuable lessons in the last couple of years,” says Kelvin.
Murray Guy, past city Councillor
"I am committed for running for Mayor for the Tauranga City Council," says Murray Guy. "At this stage I haven't seen any candidates that match my philosophies in regard to mayoralty, so it may change."
"I'm running for the mayoralty, largely because of my local government experience and understanding," says Murray.
"I've always had a philosophy of taking care of the people first. I have a strong community focus, and I think that's where we've let them down the last couple of terms, for example Bella Vista.
"But if somebody came up with principles and philosophies that aligned with my own, then I would more than happily step aside. But I would still run for the Council as a Councillor."
"I accept that with an open mind If someone matches my beliefs and philosophies then instead of splitting the vote, I would well support an alternative."
Tenby Powell, high profile businessman
Tenby Powell has announced he is running for Mayor of his home-town Tauranga and is calling for an immediate ‘town hall’ debate of all mayoral candidates.
Tenby Powell with wife Sharon Hunter
Tenby, who currently lives in Auckland, grew up in Tauranga, attending Otumoetai College. He has extensive senior management and governance experience in both the private and public sectors. He currently serves on the APEC Business Advisory Council, chairs the Government’s Small Business Council, and serves on the Governance Group of the Sector Workplace Engagement Programme.
“It will be my honour to serve the people of Tauranga, a key and rapidly growing New Zealand city in desperate need of experienced leadership,” says Tenby.
“I’m calling for a Town Hall Debate of all mayoral candidates immediately to ensure the people of Tauranga are exposed to all candidates from the outset and are able to conduct their own public due diligence.”
Although Tauranga’s local government election’s candidate nominations open on July 19, with ballot boxes closing at noon on October 12, Tenby is keen to get the ball rolling.
“While this may seem early, the amount of calls, messages and emails I’m receiving from Tauranga residents is overwhelming,” says Tenby. “The stories of pain and anguish are so disturbing that Tauranga ratepayers need and deserve to know who is running and what leadership and management capability they have to mend a broken city with a broken heart.”
RangiMarie TeAmopui-Kaa Kingi
RangiMarie TeAmopui-Kaa Kingi has announced she will be running for the Tauranga mayoralty. She also intends to run for the Rotorua mayoralty, and says she is the great-great-grand daughter of the first Māori king Tāwhiao Pōtatau Te Wherowhero.
RangiMarie TeAmopui-Kaa Kingi
Rangimarie believes it is time for a women’s touch to break what she believes is a pattern of male dominance in Tauranga City Council, and calling the city a ‘male dominated disaster zone’ in her mayoralty statement. Rangimarie ran for the Rotorua mayoralty in 2016.
“Male dominated redneck white collared crime has escalated, leaving a $500 billion debt, nationwide,” says RangiMarie. “It’s not just male dominated, it’s about a generation.
"I represent new generation leadership too. The whole central North Island to me, we’re dominated by an older generation. We need the next generation of leadership I say.
“I represent women, I represent a new generation, I represent Māori women.”
Dame Susan Devoy, former squash champion and former race relations commissioner
Dame Susan Devoy confirmed on Friday that she will be standing for the Tauranga mayoralty. A long-term Tauranga resident, she states that she is acutely aware of the issues and opportunities facing the city.
Dame Susan Devoy
Susan intends to have an official launch where she will go into more detail about her plans and vision for the city.
“Things have to change. We need to get the ball rolling,” says Susan.
Danny Cancian, former director of Bella Vista homes development
Danny Cancian, the former director of the failed Bella Vista homes development announced in early May that he will be running for mayor.
In a video posted to Facebook, Danny Cancian announced that he will be running for the position of Tauranga Mayor and/or elected member at large of Tauranga City.
“I am not going to pretend that I am someone I am not. I am not going to make promises pre-election that I do not stick to.”
Danny was at the forefront of the Bella Vista debacle in The Lakes, which has cost the city $14 million - $10.5 million of which was defrayed by an insurance payout.
The key dates for this Tauranga City Council election are:
• 1 Jul 2019: Electoral Enrolment Centre campaign starts
• 19 Jul 2019: Nominations open for candidates
• 16 Aug 2019: Nominations close and electoral rolls close
• 20-25 Sep 2019: Voting papers delivered
• 12 Oct 2019: Polling day and declaration of preliminary results
• 17-23 Oct 2019: Official results declared