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Eric Carter, who resides in Te Mata, is vying to become TCDC’s next Mayor. Photo: KELLEY TANTAU

Boating president to stand for Mayor

Eric Carter has never gone for a job and missed. His next career ambition? Becoming the mayor of Thames-Coromandel District Council.
Nominations to stand for council at this year’s local body elections close on Friday, and Eric, who resides in Te Mata along the Thames Coast, said the idea to throw his hat into the ring had been brewing for some time.
“Being on the Shoreline Management Plan panel at the council for the last 18 months, I’ve seen how the council operates, and with the Mayor standing down, it got me more interested,” he told The Profile.
Eric, who is in his fourth term as president of the Waikawau Boat Ramp Society, has had a variety of jobs, starting as a shepherd on his gran’s farm at age 14.
After helping run a New Zealand seed company, he started his own seed business in Cambridge. He then sold the business and spent seven years building hay barns and farm sheds, until the 2006 financial crisis forced the trade into a steep decline.
“I had a beautiful boat that had been sitting in the driveway, but because I’d been working so hard, it had never been used,” Eric said. “So, I took up my hobby of fishing as my job, and I came to Thames, got my skippers ticket, and now we run two boats and do about 450 trips a year.”
He started his charter fishing company, Snapper Express, in 2011, and said his business background would help him if he obtained the district’s top job.
“You must have a financial background to know that to spend a dollar and make a dollar is not the same thing. It might sound holistic, but I like to think a mayor looks after the social, cultural, physical, and safety of their community – that, with financial well-being,” he said.
“Some people wait years to get a pothole fixed outside their driveway – that’s a safety thing, and those things need to be addressed instantly, but there are other major projects that, if we can’t afford to do it, should we string ourselves out in these economic times to do them?”
If successful for the mayoralty, Eric said getting rid of the “high-falutin” style of communication at council was key, while central government’s Three Waters proposal for the Coromandel was “an absolute no-go”.
“A lot of people want change when they get a new council. The thing about it is, change for change’s sake costs more than what it’s worth,” he said. “Sometimes, we try to reinvent the wheel when all we need to do is balance the wheel to get it back on track.”
He also made note of outgoing Mayor Sandra Goudie, and praised the other mayoral nominees for their “passion” to represent their communities.
“We’ve had a mayor who has been very hands-on and very out-there and public, and although not everybody agrees with her personal stances, she has actually done some good things in the Coromandel, and I believe a mayor is there to lead people and make decisions,” he said.
“So, good luck to everybody, and good on everybody for having the passion to stand for mayor.”