MAXWELL CLARK, 60
He and his partner Shona McBride have been together for 21 years. They have a 16-year-old daughter who lives at home. Maxwell is a paramedic and owns MediMax, which provides ambulance services around the region.
Maxwell Clark didn't succeed when he stood for the Tasman District Council three years ago but he reckons that he's got a good chance of winning the mayoralty in his first attempt.
He's standing, he says, because the community wanted him to. He believes the TDC needs a change of culture and a change of direction.
His six-point policy list is focused on curbing spending to stop the council's debt ballooning to a forecast $311 million and to keep rate increases small.
Mr Clark lives in a former farmhouse, a lifestyle block in Lower Queen St near the showgrounds. It looks out on lush paddocks right down to the Waimea Estuary.
This is land that was hit with skyrocketing rates after the council rezoned it under the Richmond West redevelopment plan and Mr Clark is one of the residents who fought for a rates remission policy.
It was a successful fight for most of those affected, particularly around Headingly Lane, but not so far for Mr Clark, who has affordable and fair rates as point No 1 on his policy list.
It's also a block of land which got him into the High Court a decade ago, with a ruling in 2004 saying that he and Ms McBride took advantage of an elderly neighbour to try to buy it in a "substantially unequal bargain", and ordering that the contract be amended.
That's all water under the bridge, he says, with 1000 square metres subdivided off for the neighbour to keep. "We're good neighbours," he says, "It was really just a sadness that happens sometimes over property deals. I currently mow their lawns."
Mr Clark says the council has had too much of a "do as we say" attitude and he wants more power given to local communities. Takaka should be able to make its own bylaws and Golden Bay should be able to decide on cellphone tower installation without being told what to do by people in Richmond.
He says the critical component for a successful council is community engagement and communication. "Communities should be trusted to come up with solutions for their own problems."
Alone among the five mayoral candidates, he is adamantly against the Lee Valley dam, saying its only capacity would be "to financially ruin our district". More controversially, he believes that if the dam was breached - possibly by an earthquake - the effect would be widespread and catastrophic. "It would create fatalities and wipe out the Brightwater township as it currently exists."
That, a broader focus on regaining control of "excessive spending" to limit debt and keep rates affordable, flexible financial planning to have funds available for fixing unexpected problems, opposition to amalgamation with Nelson and industrial growth balanced with environmental protection round out his platform.
If he wins, he'll step aside from his business to be a full-time mayor, Mr Clark says. "I believe I can get in and deliver the goods. I wouldn't have stood if I didn't think I could meet the requirements of the mayor's role."
49 Pig farmer, St Arnaud. Co-parents two teenage children
St Arnaud farmer Richard Osmaston might be viewed as the maverick candidate for the Nelson mayoralty, but he is serious about getting elected.
He denies that he is using the campaign trail as a platform for the concept of a moneyless, resource-based economy he has been touting.
The British-born former commercial airline pilot and aircraft engineer previously said he believed in the need for such a revolution because humanity was looking at social breakdown like never before. He was less interested in what he saw as the minutiae of council business than the need to take a more global view.
"I would very much like to get elected. I think we have come to a point where I could make a significant difference in how we run our society. I think this may be the only way to do it."
He said his absence from preliminary candidates' forums was because he was being selective about which ones he attended. He was driven to seek change because of his "inability to be content when I know how unhappy most people are".
Mr Osmaston, a newcomer to local government, said he decided to stand for the mayoralty instead of trying his hand as a councillor first, because in his view the role of mayor was one of vision and leadership. As a councillor, there was "too much local work to focus on, with a narrow remit".
"Government at all levels is failing us. Nothing is happening.
"I believe the status quo, financially and environmentally, is becoming untenable to a bigger proportion of the population. None of the other candidates are remotely addressing these big issues."
He does, however, credit the council for its work so far.
"The council does a great job and it tries so hard to please everyone, which is an impossible task, but its failure is in its inability to look at the bigger picture."
Mr Osmaston said that while his views might not be immediately popular or easy to grasp, he believed that most people sensed that change was needed in an era of societal breakdown, stress and environmental degradation.
"People in their heart of hearts know this change is coming."
He said he was different to other candidates, in that he was not prepared to compromise his beliefs and had no ulterior motives.
"Transitions have occurred throughout history, but this time we have the benefit of building on the experience of the past.
"One thing that makes my situation so different is that I don't have a degree in economics, I'm not a politician, and I can travel lightly and continue to make the most of any opportunity that presents itself."
Mr Osmaston said he was prepared to make a stand, even if it meant losing some dignity.
"We do like to be seen as right. You can hate me or laugh at me, but the material remains."
For further details, visit www.elections2010.co.nz/2013/candidates/richard-osmaston-7643
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