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Whitianga’s Len Salt was elected Thames-Coromandel Mayor on Saturday. Photo: LEN SALT/FACEBOOK

Len Salt is TCDC’s new Mayor

Before he got the phone call to say he had become the new Mayor of Thames-Coromandel, Len Salt was setting up a sound system for an event in Whitianga’s town hall.
But after the news broke around 3pm on Saturday, Len admitted it was hard to focus on anything else.
“It takes a little while to really get your head around it,” he said, “and it’s quite a transition because up until that point, you’re focused on the election and there’s two ways it can go: you either succeed and go forward down that path, or you don’t succeed and your life takes a different turn.
“So, a big part of Saturday was just knowing with some certainty what was happening next.”
The preliminary results for the local body elections show Len as the clear front-runner out of the seven mayoral candidates for Thames-Coromandel District Council.
As of Monday he had secured 5195 votes, ahead of runner-up John Freer who obtained 2489 votes.
Cherie Staples had received 1839 votes; Steve Hart, 1080; Ron Julian, 983; Eric Carter, 720; and Peter Pinkham, 560.
Len stood for mayor in 2019 and received 4301 votes, losing out to incumbent Sandra Goudie.
He said while he did not expect to win in 2019, he decided at that point to talk to people across the district to find out “what the issues were and what projects and problems needed to be solved”.
He was “thrilled” to have the public’s confidence this year.
Len was the only candidate vying for the mayoralty who did not live on the western side of the peninsula, and when he spoke to The Profile less than 48 hours after clinching the top job, he was already at the council’s main office in Thames learning the ropes.
He said while the election campaign was challenging, he enjoyed the process.
“There are lots of differences between the dynamic in Mercury Bay, for example, compared to Coromandel Town and in Thames, and understanding those dynamics was a really important part of it,” he said.
“So, I really enjoyed the process… but one of the biggest challenges during the Meet the Candidates [events] was you had a very, very short time – about three minutes – to talk about all the work you’ve been doing for the past three years, and that’s tough.”
The Profile made it even tougher, and asked Len what people could expect from his mayoralty using just three words.
“A new beginning,” he replied.
DETAILS: TCDC’s new mayor, councillors and community board members will be officially sworn in at an inaugural meeting in November.