Palmerston North Mayor Jono Naylor spent less on his re-election campaign in October than opponents Lew Findlay and Duncan McCann did on challenging him.
Returns of electoral donations and expenses showed Cr Findlay invested most, spending $19,626, followed by Duncan McCann, who spent $11,516, with Mr Naylor at the back of the field on $7105.
All fell well short of the $50,000 maximum spend allowed for a city with a population of 80,000 to 100,000.
The candidates did not have any donations of more than $1500 to declare.
Among the other mayoral candidates, Grant Seton spent $115, Ross Barber spent nothing, and Gary Philip was still to file his return with hours to go before yesterday's deadline.
Among the city council candidates, money was no guarantee of success, but it helped for newcomers.
The biggest spender, investing $12,284 in his campaign, was new councillor Grant Smith.
He was also the only one with donations of more than $1500 to declare, from Pacific Farms RD1, and his business, GSA Design.
Another newcomer, Aleisha Rutherford, spent $9285 to secure her seat at the council table.
New councillor Leonie Hapeta spent $5924, and Rachel Bowen spent $5303 on her success.
The four new councillors were among the six top spenders, sharing the top of the table with outvoted councillor Bruce Wilson, who spent $8106 but still lost his seat, and returning councillor Tangi Utikere, who spent $6469.
At the other end of the scale, candidate Dion Martin spent nothing at all, and failed to attract enough votes for election.
But the fourth and fifth most thrifty candidates were successful - returning councillors Annette Nixon on $1092 and Ross Linklater on $1194.
Deputy Mayor Jim Jefferies and community development committee chairman Vaughan Dennison still had time to get their returns in to electoral officer John Annabell before the close of business yesterday.
All candidates' returns detailing what they spent their money on will be available for the public to view on the council website from Monday.
- Manawatu Standard
Did you celebrate at least one local sports victory at Labour weekend?Related story: Manawatu 'right up there'