Newcomer aims to be mayor

By John Cousins

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Te Puke's economic development guru Mark Boyle is making an all-or-nothing bid to win election as the mayor of the Western Bay of Plenty District.

The newcomer to the rough and tumble of politics is seeking to unseat Ross Paterson who has led the council since the death of Mayor Graeme Weld in 2008.

Mr Boyle, 52, was unfazed that this would be his first taste of running for public office, saying it was not a disadvantage. The managing director of Te Puke EDG (Economic Development Group) said he was standing on the back of his leadership qualities, business background and ability to bring policies to fruition through debate and discussion.

Mr Boyle was only going for the leadership of the district and did not have a fall-back position of also seeking a seat on the council.

Raised in Rotorua, he has worked in Te Puke for four years. Before that he worked in the United States and in the chemicals industry in Australia.

Asked if he was hoping to repeat the loyalty which Te Puke had showed to Mr Weld, Mr Boyle said: "I am not going into this to hang my hat on Te Puke voters.

I want to take my passion to the entire Western Bay and I will be campaigning on things that resonate through all the wards."

His campaign will feature some old-fashioned walking through the streets and shaking hands, along with getting his message out using a website and social media.

"I am really keen on debating with the Mayor," Mr Boyle said.

He was standing on the basis of economic and social development and affordability. Mr Boyle said the council also needed to be on the front foot in terms of possible local authority reorganisation in the Bay of Plenty.

"We need to be having the discussion with Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council in order to understand the options."

Mr Boyle said that anything that improved services and reduced costs would have to be seriously considered, but not at the expense of communities losing their identity and own decision making.

"Their value to the bigger equation will never be lost," he said.

He said the council had some challenges around its financial position and the district had to attract more investment by creating jobs through new industries and helping businesses to grow.

Mr Boyle is married to, Sherry, and they have one child.

Mr Paterson announced last week that he was seeking a second full-term as mayor after he was re-elected unopposed in 2010. He could not be contacted for comment yesterday.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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