Mayoral hopefuls want to rewrite city plan

Mayoral contenders Andrew Caie, Doug Owens, Tim Maltby, Chudleigh Haggett, Donna Hannah, Mahé Drysdale, John Robson, Hori BOP, Ria Hall, Jos Nagels, Greg Brownless, Tina Salisbury. Photos: Alisha Evans/SunLive

Most Tauranga mayoral candidates say they would change the city’s 10-year plan if they were elected.

Candidates raised concerns about the plan’s $4.9 billion proposed spend and its affordability at a mayoral candidate public meeting organised by the Pāpāmoa Residents and Ratepayers Association (PRRA) on Monday. 

Nearly 250 people filled the Legacy Chapel in Pāpāmoa to hear what 12 of Tauranga’s 15 mayoral candidates had to offer.

Mayoral hopefuls Greg Brownless, Hori BOP, Andrew Caie, Mahé Drysdale, Chudleigh Haggett, Ria Hall, Donna Hannah, Tim Maltby, Jos Nagels, Doug Owens, John Robson and Tina Salisbury attended.

The long-term plan was adopted by the commission in April.

It sets out the council’s direction for the next decade and proposes $4.9 billion in capital investment. This includes more than $1 billion in transport infrastructure and a $574m investment in community facilities including the new aquatic centre at Memorial Park and sports facilities.

An artist’s impression of Te Manawataki o Te Papa. Image: Tauranga City Council.

There is also the $306 million civic precinct project, Te Manawataki o Te Papa, that aims to revive the city’s heart.

Ratepayers will help fund $151m of the project through a rates levy over the next 30 years, with the rest coming from grants, development contributions and asset sales. Construction of the precinct started earlier this year and is expected to be completed in 2028.

Mayoral candidates were given six minutes each to speak, this was followed by 18 yes or no questions.

They were asked if they would revisit the long-term plan with a view to make changes, if elected.

All of the candidates said yes except for Andrew Caie, who said he supported most of the plan but wanted a chance to explain his stance to those attending.

When given the floor earlier, Brownless said the long-term plan needed to change under a newly elected council, which would be accountable for it.

Haggett said the long-term plan “doesn't need to be reviewed it needs to be tossed out”.

“Nothing in that plan actually drives the city as a whole forward,” he said.

Nearly 250 people attended the PRRA meet the mayoral candidates meeting. Photo: Alisha Evans/SunLive. 


Maltby said the plan needed to be amended because it was “unsustainable”.

“The ratepayers cannot afford the long-term plan,” he claimed.

Caie said previous councils hadn’t invested in infrastructure for 20 years.

Drysdale agreed previous councils “underfunded and not delivered critical infrastructure”.

“Make a choice, do you want to pay 2024 prices, or do you want to pay 2034 prices because you can't hide from critical infrastructure, at some point you’ve got to pay for it.”

Hall said her viewpoint was intergenerational.

“There have been some things that could have been done a lot better, but I'm here to pivot from that.”

The final question of the night asked candidates if they would consider the financial wellbeing of the ratepayers in any major decision, which they all responded yes.

All the candidates also agreed that community input was important for making key decisions.

Pāpāmoa Residents and Ratepayers Association chair Philip Brown. Photo: Alisha Evans/SunLive. 

PRRA chair Philip Brown prefaced the night with the group's opposition to the Tauranga City Council’s 2024-34 long term plan.

“This election is about either agreeing with this long-term plan 2024/2034 and the eyewatering spend on the CBD or revisiting and revising that plan as an amendment.”

Those absent from the event: Tanya Bamford-King was sick; Aureliu Braguta was overseas; and Anthony Goddard didn’t give a reason for his absence.

Voting in the election closes at midday on July 20.

LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air.


Well, well.

Posted on 10-07-2024 19:15 | By Cynical Me

There are few there, retreads, that were in the council when the plan was made years ago. They were there when the old council building was demolished at their urging so the arties could have their new building and they were there when the council undertook to build a parking building and when that building became disaster.
Would you vote that lot back in?
Why would you?

Voters need a say

Posted on 11-07-2024 08:25 | By an_alias

Its your money that has to cover this excess spending.
Are you happy to go from $3k rates to $10k rates without any consultation ?
You need to vote and hope there is some push back against the faceless council staff that have co-driven this fiasco.
How does a museum and hotel push Tauranga forward ?
We need infrastructure not grand pat me on the back monuments !

@ an_alias

Posted on 11-07-2024 10:04 | By Yadick

Good comment but unfortunately you forgot the meeting rooms. Evidently another museum, art gallery, meeting rooms and 'concrete' green spaces are going to draw hundreds of people back to a thriving metropolis . . .
What we actually need is some real every day shops and real good scrub. The city is absolutely filthy.


Posted on 11-07-2024 11:45 | By Let's get real

I suggested right at the start of this spending fiasco that we should have been building a destination retail site ( ground floor), hotel and casino on the site of the perfectly adequate council building space.
I can assure you all that there would have been next to no requirements for ratepayers money to fund the construction and it would have brought MILLIONS of dollars into the central city.
But of course, ratepayers will be funding empty spaces without any return from the investment.

Not too sure

Posted on 11-07-2024 12:07 | By nerak

about Ria's thoughts, 'intergenerational' and 'pivot' are just words, after all. Good to see the majority of candidates align with a couple of points vital to the ratepayers. Just have to hope the chosen one can steer a ship well, and keep all on board in order. Whoever it is, they will be closely scrutinised by many.

You obviously..

Posted on 11-07-2024 12:27 | By Shadow1

..believe everything you hear, Cynical Me, if you believe all the previous Councillors were to blame. Only one was responsible for demolishing the council buildings (including our great library) , and he is running for council again. Only one was responsible for the sacking of the council and he is also running this year. The Commission and their supporters have never stopped criticising the sacked council or the previous councils for underspending on infrastructure, an infrastructure that was fit for purpose but came under pressure from Central Government’s demands.
Come on everyone, give us a council who will talk to ratepayers and will stand up to Central government.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to make a comment.