Costs of election campaigns revealed

TESSA JOHNSTONE AND WALT DICKSON
Last updated 05:00 19/12/2013

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A mayoral candidate who campaigned on fiscal responsibility topped the campaign spending in Kapiti.

Electoral expense returns show Gavin Welsh's unsuccessful bid for mayor in October cost him $18,730 - or $5.07 for each of his votes. However, the investment did land him a seat on the council.

He reported $7160 in anonymous donations.

Ousted mayor Jenny Rowan spent nearly $16,000 in a bid for a third term, which works out at about $3.51 for each of the 4559 votes she received.

The mayoralty was won by Ross Church, who spent $13,890 and got a good bang for his buck with each of his almost 8000 votes costing $1.75.

Mr Church said that, although he spent more than he budgeted, he was comfortable with the amount, because building a profile was important.

He made a deliberate decision not to solicit donations.

"Some people offered money or support but I didn't take anything. I wanted to stand alone and I didn't want to be beholden to anybody. But, equally, I didn't want to let anybody down."

The Paraparaumu councillor K Gurunathan was one of two Kapiti candidates to record any donations over $1500 - a $5000 donation from physiotherapist Rob McKenzie before he died and $6000 from businessman Tony Gan, to offset a $13,960 campaign spend.

Water rights campaigner and now councillor Jackie Elliott spent $2570, though it was David Scott who had the lowest spend of the mayoral candidates, landing a council seat with $940.

Other councillors and community board candidates spent between 30 cents - community board candidate Sam Buchanan for a photocopy - and $6135.

In Masterton, Lyn Patterson not only topped the votes for the mayoralty but also bolted home the clear winner in money shelled out over the campaign.

Under the slogan "The Change We Need", Mrs Patterson's campaign cost about $9000. She collected 3263 votes, which works out at $2.75 a vote.

Garry Daniell's failed mayoral campaign cost $5740, returning him 2769 votes at $2.05 each.

Gary Caffell, who ran for mayor and council, spent $3180, gathering 2320 votes or about $1.40 each. Mr Caffell won a second term on the council, polling third highest in the Urban ward.

Another big spender, Shaun McGillicuddy, pumped about $4400 into his unsuccessful tilt at council.

Some candidates spent nothing. Unsuccessful candidate Tinui Bruce Laing spent 20 cents, offset by donations of $10.

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- The Dominion Post

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