Eight hopefuls line up for mayoral race
DANIEL ADAMS, AARON LEAMAN AND NARELLE HENSON
The biggest mayoral field for Hamilton City in at least a decade has lined up among 57 candidates chasing election in local polls decided on October 12.
Eight mayoral candidates submitted their nomination forms in time for yesterday's noon cut-off, while five vacancies have drawn bumper fields for council.
Incumbent Julie Hardaker still looms as the candidate to beat, however a strong field, with and without political experience, will make it a contest.
In the East, a huge field of 26 candidates, eight more than 2010, are chasing three vacancies and the seats of three incumbents who are standing again.
History puts the line between winning and losing in the east at about 6000 votes, and with at least three new members to be found, names lining up include those such as former councillor Garry Mallett, who fell just 400 votes short in 2010.
In the West, 23 candidates, two more than last time, will match up against four incumbents standing again, with another two vacancies to be filled.
Here the threshold for election has been around 5000 votes, and again the incumbents will face a diverse field, featuring some strong candidates.
Meanwhile, 38 candidates will contest 14 seats across Waikato Regional Council's six general and two Maori constituencies. This year's contest is shaping as one of the most hotly contested elections in years with a host of political heavyweights entering the fray.
The Hamilton constituency has attracted the most candidates, with nine names contesting four seats.
In 2010, Paula Southgate, Lois Livingston, Tony Armstrong and Jane Hennebry were clear winners but will face stiff competition this year, especially from one-term Hamilton Mayor and former National MP Bob Simcock.
About 13,000 votes appears the cut-off for success in Hamilton.
The rejigged Waikato constituency will see One Waikato candidates Peter Buckley and former Olympic chef de mission Dave Currie go head-to-head with Rates Control candidates Theresa Stark and Martyn Seddon.
The two tickets haven't wasted any time taking each other to task, but their emergence has also prompted independents to enter the race.
The contest for the Waihou and Waipa-King Country constituencies shapes as an intriguing affair, with retiring Matamata-Piako Mayor Hugh Vercoe and Waipa Mayor Alan Livingston vying for election.
Two seats are available in the Waipa-King Country constituency, with Mr Livingston tasked with ousting Russ Rimmington or Stu Kneebone.
Mr Vercoe will face competition from incumbents Phillip Legg and Norm Barker.
Taupo-based councillor Laurie Burdett's retirement creates an opening for either Doreen Blyth, Rob Henderson or Kathy White for the Taupo-Rotorua constituency.
In Thames-Coromandel, incumbent Simon Friar will once again go up against Clyde Graf. In 2010, Mr Friar nudged out Mr Graf by 421 votes.
The newly created Maori seats - Nga Hau e Wha and Nga Tai ki Uta have also attracted strong fields.
If Noel Smith manages to unseat Mayor Allan Sanson in Waikato District Council, a by-election will have to be held in Newcastle Ward, to which he has returned unchallenged.
A healthy field of 19 candidates will compete for seven places in Taupo's Taupo-Kaingaroa Ward, while in South Waikato all three incumbent Putaruru Ward councillors have been returned unopposed. At least four of the district council's have had councillors returned with no competition.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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