Candidate’s campaign on city debt

Removing the $64million Route K debt from Tauranga City Council’s books will be the key focus of newly announced NZ First candidate for Tauranga Clayton Mitchell’s election campaign.

The Tauranga City Councillor was this week selected as the party’s candidate to contest the Tauranga seat at the general election on September 20.

Tauranga City Councillor and NZ First candidate for Tauranga Clayton Mitchell.

If elected as MP, the Mount Maunganui-Papamoa ward councillor told SunLive he will 100 per cent stay on as a ward councillor.

“I have every intention of staying on as a Tauranga City Councillor. I’m very passionate about my area and that was one of the reasons why I am standing for NZ First.

“I’m a person who likes to bite off more than I can chew and chew like buggery to get things done.”

Allegations made by the NZ Taxpayers Union yesterday that Clayton will be “double-dipping” if he remains a councillor if elected are rubbished by the councillor.

“It’s not about double-dipping I didn’t get into council for the salaries that you got – I’m passionate about making changes.

“I’m more than happy if the community felt the workload wasn’t being done properly, then certainly money would be coming back from myself to the community. I will be putting 100 per cent into this.

“If I’m successful I will have to look at my business, and potentially selling it to free up time.”

In a campaign that is already underway, Clayton says Route K will be a big part of a push towards reclaiming a seat NZ First held for many years.

“Route K is the main reason I am standing in actual fact. We have approached other parties to take on the Route K debt and they have declined to take it up – we approached NZ First and they said they would support it.

“I think if we can get that $64million of debt off the books that would be a huge help financially for the city, and our economic development debt will certainly ease.”

Route K ownership has now been transferred from Tauranga City Council to NZ Transport Agency but the debt remains with council.

Clayton says the $64million remaining is a liability and would open up council cashflow to pay for other projects, particularly the Southern Pipeline project, which is facing a $60-80million blowout.

“If we don’t get that $64million off the books we have some serious issues on how we will fund other projects already committed to by previous councils.”

He does not believe central government taking over the debt will mean other roading projects will suffer.

“We have some great roads coming through in this area – the TEL is a fantastic piece of road, and State Highway 29 through to the Waikato – I would actually question why NZTA did TEL over SH29 – it is our main trunk route through to the port.”

His campaign policies in the lead up to the September 20 election mirror what the Mount business owner campaigned on during the 2013 local body elections. In addition to Route K, Clayton is seeking tsunami warning systems for the beachfront Mount-Papamoa area, and better exits from the growing Papamoa suburb.

“We have the Rena to consider. In my opinion if we can remove the Rena safely without any harm to life then my preference is to do that –that’s my preference and not a standpoint from NZ First.”

Since his announcement on Monday, Clayton says support from fellow councillors and the Mayor Stuart Crosby has been positive.

“I called a special meeting Monday morning to let everyone know and the response to the councillors, Mayor and Deputy Mayor were very favourable, they have said they will get behind me and support me.”

Clayton has long-believed in NZ First, but says a high ranking on the party list is not a priority.

“I have always been a strong supporter of NZ First – to me it’s the only party that represents New Zealand and New Zealanders.”

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1 4 GK

Posted on 18-07-2014 10:41 | By 1 4 GK

Question for Clayton....if, as a Councillor, you can’t get the Government to take over the City’s Route K debt, how do you think being a MP will change that? I suspect that like former Councillor Guy you are not familiar with the history of TCCs deal with NZTA over Route K, 15th Ave and Turret Road. A deal is a deal. Like MP Bridges says, if the Govt has %62M to spare, wouldn’t it be better to spend it on a new road than bail TCC out of a debt it is SOLELY responsible for.


Posted on 16-07-2014 19:44 | By FunandGames

Easy to promice when you don’t have a hope of delivering

Do we vote for politicians based on promises?

Posted on 16-07-2014 17:42 | By Annalist

Perhaps we can find a candidate who will offer Route K debt and perhaps the Southern Pipeline cost as well? While they’re at it how about tax cuts but increased expenditure on education, welfare and research too? Hmmm


Posted on 16-07-2014 15:32 | By Sambo Returns

political debate, N.Z. Independent Party 1 N.Z.First 0, your serve Clayton, and to Michael ONeill, you can wear 2 x hats, only if one does not fit your head.

Southern Pipeline project, facing a $80million blowout

Posted on 16-07-2014 14:46 | By YOGI BEAR

here we go, it is just the start of the huge mess to follow on the costs of this farcical project.

Can you really wera two hats.

Posted on 16-07-2014 14:42 | By

Cr Mitchell forget Route K the debt burden is sustainable through user pays Tolls. Your own Engineers have crunched the numbers, managed the traffic modelling and reported that it will not be a rateable burden. The real issue is the questionable deal your council has with the Transport agency and the reported $45 million the city must contribute towards the Harini link this will be a rateable cost to the city. Please explain how you managed to trade off route K for Hirini, keep the $64 million debt and as well incur the reported additional $45 million proposed debt? The other significant development has to be the Bayfair Sate Highway development.

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