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Votes need to be in before midday on October 8. PHOTO: KELLEY TANTAU

Hopeful mayors discuss deputies

Shots were fired at both sheriff and deputy at the second Meet the Candidates event in Thames, but whether there were any hits will be seen come election day.
Hosted by Transition Town Thames on September 18, those vying for a job within Thames-Coromandel District Council gathered to introduce themselves and answer questions.
MC John Morrissey – who has been reelected unopposed for the Coromandel-Colville ward – asked the six mayoral candidates in attendance: “How will you build a strong governance team at council?”
This turned the focus on to who the mayoral hopefuls would choose to be their deputy if elected, and highlighted anxieties over a potential ‘East versus West’ divide.
“I believe the deputy should not be picked by the mayor,” Eric Carter said. “It should be picked by the council at the time because that person must effectively run the council if the mayor’s not around.”
Cherie Staples disagreed, and said if she were the mayor, she’d be selecting a deputy from the eastern side of the Peninsula.
“I’m not going to have any council appoint a deputy, because that person needs to be the person that’s with me going forward,” she said.
John Freer made note that fellow mayoral hopeful Len Salt, from Whitianga, had already announced he’d be selecting South Eastern ward candidate and current councillor Terry Walker as his deputy, if both were successful this October.
“That means down that side, we’ll have both the mayor and deputy mayor on the East Coast,” he said. “You might need to have a balance.”
Len Salt told the audience he stood by his decision to vouch for Terry Walker.
“I’m very, very proud of that man and the contribution he’s made… he deserves support and he gets my 100 per cent support.”
Len said he was “very anxious” about a “​​parochial split” – East Coast versus West Coast – and said he’d “make it very clear” that a council under his watch would work for the whole district.
Meanwhile, Steve Hart told the crowd that being the mayor was an “extremely important role” to hold the governance team together.
“It’s about people power and how you can communicate with people… I have no difficulty with that whatsoever.”
Peter Pinkham said within his first few weeks in the top job, he’d talk to all council staff to “get to know” them and their dreams.
“I have utmost respect for people who are willing to put their name forward as a councillor, and there is nobody so far who I’ve seen running for council who I’d be unhappy to work with.”
Ron Julian apologised for not being able to make the meeting.
DETAILS: Vote before midday this October 8.