Christchurch mayoralty race attracts colourful cast of candidates

A colourful cast of characters including a wizard, an anti-mandates pastor, a serving city councillor and businessman, an anti-stadium campaigner, a former health boss, and a champion of something called “economics euthenics” are all jostling to become the new Christchurch mayor.

Eleven candidates have been confirmed to contest the Garden City mayoralty race in this year’s local body elections on October 8.

The winner will replace three-term Lianne Dalziel who has led the city since 2013.

Nominations closed on Friday and attracted several serial contenders including Tubby Hansen on the Economics Euthenics ticket, who has stood in every triennial election since 1971, and independent Peter Wakeman who has previously stood in 1998, 2007, 2010 and 2013, as well as controversial anti-mandates churchman Carl Bromley and 89-year-old Wizard of NZ, aka Ian Brackenbury Channell.

But with seven weeks of campaigning left, two figures have already emerged as serious leading candidates.

Serving city councillor Phil Mauger – “Let’s Get Stuff Done” – and former chief executive of the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) David Meates – “Listens, Leads and Gets Results” – look to be heading for a hectic showdown.

Meates, whose father Bill and uncle Kevin were both All Blacks, announced a seven-point policy vision in recent days, which includes moves to allow residents more control of how money is spent in their neighbourhood.

“Participatory budgeting” where local communities get to decide their priorities for spending has been popular in UK, Brazil, and Vancouver.

In standing for mayor, Meates, who was CDHB boss from 2009 to 2020 and was part of one of the largest building programmes ever undertaken in health following the 2010/11 Canterbury earthquakes, says he brings “extensive experience” in both public and private sector leadership.

“There are a number of short-term challenges facing the council, but also a strong need for clear direction on the future of Christchurch,” he says.

“It is critical to focus now on issues like sustainability, growth, the environment, how we want the city and Banks Peninsula to look in 10 and 20 years’ time, and what sort of jobs and businesses we want to attract.”

Mauger, a successful businessman who before joining the council two years ago led Maugers Contracting, which his family has been operating in Christchurch since 1970, says he will bring a “sensible and practical approach” to the city council and a reputation for “getting stuff done”.

“Councillors should make decisions because it is good for our city, not be told what to do by a political party,” Mauger says.

“As an independent mayor, I will look at any idea that comes up and make up my own mind if it’s best for Christchurch and, where possible, listen to what our community wants. I have supported ideas from both sides of the political spectrum.”

However, Mauger has already caused a stir, with news emerging that he has personally donated to four “like-minded” city council campaigns who are all running either as independents or under the right-leaning Independent Citizens banner.

Dalziel told Newstalk ZB’s Canterbury Mornings she’s never donated to individual campaigns, nor has she endorsed candidates.

She says the decision on who is elected around the council table lies with the public – a stance Meates agreed with.

Christchurch mayoralty candidates:

  • Bromley, Carl (Independent – I Hear I Care)
  • Chirnside, Mark (Chirny for Mayor)
  • Hansen, Tubby (Economic Euthenics)
  • Jelley, Stephen (Stop the Stadium)
  • Kingi-Patterson, Drucilla (Independent)
  • Mauger, Phil (Let’s Get Stuff Done)
  • Meates, David (Listens, Leads and Gets Results)
  • Nitro, Nikora (Independent)
  • Park, Sam
  • The Wizard Of NZ (Independent)
  • Wakeman, Peter (Independent)

A full list of local election candidates can be found here.

-By Kurt Bayer

Leave a Comment