Journalist joins mayoral race

By Kiri Gillespie

Journalist Richard Moore has announced he is standing for Mayor of Tauranga plus a seat on Tauranga City Council in this year's local body elections.

Mr Moore, 52, is a columnist for the Bay of Plenty Times and announced the decision yesterday.

"I'm a journalist. I've always listened to people and put their views forward. But that's not why I'm doing this job, or why I'm going for mayor. I'm doing it because I can make a difference," Mr Moore said.

The father of two said the decision was born out of anger at a lack of action from current council members and desire to curb the city's spiralling debt.

"The city owes $450 million and of that, interest is $80,000 a day out of ratepayers' funds."

Mr Moore said community members had expressed alarm at the debt level, which put the city in the same boat at Kaipara District Council, now led by commissioners.

"The fear is, because the debt level is so high, the commissioner could come in, could sack the city council and then they could charge whatever they like of ratepayers," Mr Moore said. "This is what happened in Kaipara. The level of debt per head of the population is about the same as Tauranga city [about $10,000]. The commissioner came in and ratepayers not able to pay high rates have been bankrupt and lost their houses.

"If I don't have money, I don't spend it. Whereas council, despite their high experience, seem to spend money with no budget and treat ratepayers as ATM machines."

Mr Moore said the council needed young blood to help lead a new vision and direction for the city. "To me, the council seem very good at appearing to listen to people, then doing their own things, anyway," he said.

Mr Moore was also aiming at a councillor's seat for the Mount/Papamoa ward to help address the issue of tsunami sirens "which is a complete and utter debacle".

"We've been waiting for six years for these sirens and they've stuffed it up along the way and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars."

Mr Moore said money spent on Route K could have been spent on more access routes desperately needed by Papamoa residents, particularly Papamoa east residents at risk of flooding in a natural disaster.

"That's tens of thousands of people's lives are just being ignored," he said.

"Council says it can't afford to put the roads in but it can't afford not to. If they have developers going in there, make the developers put roads in. It's not that complicated."

"It's about being smart with money and prioritising things."

Mr Moore said he was also eager to create arts and cultural events to bring more people into Tauranga during winter and try to retain cruise ship passengers who travel to Rotorua.

Nominations for Tauranga City Council elections

  • Mayor: Mike Baker; Kelvin Clout; Stuart Crosby; Richard Moore

  • At Large (four vacancies): Mike Baker; Bill Faulkner; Kevin Millin; Jim Pringle; Clare Wilson

  • Mount Maunganui/Papamoa ward (two vacancies): Clayton Mitchell; Steve Morris; Wayne Moultrie; Richard Moore

  • Otumoetai-Pyes Pa ward (two vacancies): Richard Kluit

  • Te Papa-Welcome Bay ward (two vacancies): Kelvin Clout; Bill Grainger; Delwyn Walker

- Bay of Plenty Times

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