Murray McDowell sports New Plymouth’s best known mullet and he’s hoping to ride that notoriety to victory in the race for mayor.
The man better known around town as Muzz or the Mullet Man, has thrown his blonde locks, Harley-Davidson and wrap around sunglasses into the New Plymouth mayoralty race a week before nominations close.
His inclusion came as no surprise given he has unofficially been campaigning on a number of highly visible intersections in recent months, while he’s been no stranger to appearing in person at every New Plymouth District Council and subcommittee meeting.
“I’m declaring I want to be mayor, right here in my home town,” he said outside the Civic Centre where he was formalising his standing with nomination signatures from former councillor Russell Gilmer, as well as his mum.
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McDowell joins incumbent Neil Holdom, sitting councillors Murray Chong, Dinne Moeahu and Sam Bennett, as well as businessman Peter Hardgrave, to publicly join the mayoral race.
“It’s always been a serious campaign,” McDowell said.
“What I’m trying to promote is positivity outweighs negativity and for me, it’s about the people, it’s not about me. This is my home town and personally, what have I got to lose?”
While openly admitting he was “no politician”, McDowell said he was motivated to stand because of his passion for the people of the district.
“If I can make a change for the better, then so be it,” he declared.
McDowell’s background includes previous employment as a farmhand, landscaper and storeman, while he was currently receiving Accident Compensation Commission payments.
The 53-year-old said voters should “never judge a book by its cover” and he preferred those who did not know him to listen to what he had to say before dismissing his credentials for the mayoralty.
He also confirmed he would not be standing for a council seat, with the mayoralty his only priority.
“My T-shirt only says mayor, I’ve got three advisers and I want to shoot for the stars, go for the top, and it’s all about the people at the end of the day, it’s their decision,” he said.
As for the pressing issues facing council over the next three-year term, McDowell said he was thinking more about “the people” than issues like the proposed Three Waters reforms.
“I’m thinking about housing, the needy, and the young ones in our community, they’d like a burn-out pad for example,” he said.
“I call the NPDC a different name – the New Plymouth Dictating Corporation. This place here [Civic Centre], 10 years ago, only had 300 employees, now it’s got 700. Let’s get back to the core, what’s the council here for? It’s for the people.”