Big bucks don't win key to city hall
Money did talk in October's Horizons Regional Council elections, but it was no guarantee of success.
It worked for the biggest spender in the Palmerston North constituency, Rachel Keedwell, whose $5388 helped her win a first term.
But the second-biggest spender, Greg Carlyon, invested $4831 and finished 10th in the field of 12 contesting four seats.
The highest poller in the constituency, former Palmerston North mayor Paul Rieger, spent a modest $2411, while $1079 was enough to return Murray Guy.
Mr Carlyon said it took a lot of money to overcome the natural advantage held by incumbent councillors with entrenched name recognition. "But once you are there, it does not take so much, and the signs can be used again."
Mr Carlyon said he made a conscious decision not to spend any more than he did.
"Around $5000 feels about right. Much more than that would be wrong when you are talking about community service."
Mr Carlyon said the fact Dr Keedwell polled so well reflected not just money spent, but networking and hard work.
"She ran a really clever campaign."
In the Manawatu-Rangitikei constituency, council chairman Bruce Gordon was the lowest-spending candidate, on $3413, and it was enough to top the poll. He and Gordon McKellar ($6186) were re-elected.
In Ruapehu, Bruce Rollinson's expenditure of $5841 helped to unseat councillor Mike Plowman, who spent $3348.
But in Tararua, challenger Andrew Day's $5472 investment proved unable to shake John Barrow's hold on the council seat, despite his smaller election expenses of $3086.
In Whanganui, top-polling David Cotton spent $3098 and Rod Pearce spent $2800 to claim the two seats available, while Greg Cox dipped out after investing nothing more than a $200 deposit on his re-election campaign.
He lost his seat, but 7961 people still voted for him, more than enough to have the deposit refunded.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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