John is a senior reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Baldock ponders mayor's job as part of political comeback

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Larry Baldock. Photo / Andrew Warner
Larry Baldock. Photo / Andrew Warner

Former Parliamentarian and city councillor Larry Baldock is bracing himself for a political comeback that could include vying for the leadership of Tauranga.

Mr Baldock, 61, has joined the growing list of definite and potential candidates wanting to fill the vacuum left by mayor Stuart Crosby's announcement not to seek re-election this year.

Mr Baldock said he would definitely be standing for the council. As for the mayoralty, he was waiting to see if there were any serious and competent contenders before he committed himself. "That will affect my decision."

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He said mayoral candidates needed to have a good support base and he had been approached by a number of people.

Mr Baldock said he knew city councillor Kelvin Clout, Max Mason and Doug Owens.

"I will let them tell me their vision for the city and then I will know whether to support them or have a go myself."

Some people could do the mayor's job without first having been a councillor, but they needed board or corporate experience, he said.

Mr Baldock, who was part of the big clean-out in the 2013 election, said the current council had benefited from the growth boom.

"They have had a dream run after coming in on the debt issue - they walked into a growth boom."

Low interest rates and the big increase in income from fees had also played into the council's hands. "They have not had to do anything too difficult yet."

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Mr Baldock warned that Tauranga would have more roading issues if it did not keep on top of things.

"The place is filling up rapidly."

The city needed the Northern Arterial to be built to Te Puna and the Tauranga Eastern Link needed more link roads.

He also argued that SmartGrowth should be more flexible to get long-term planning right.

Mr Baldock, who has been involved in national and local politics for 20 years, said he had been filling in time over the last couple of years doing property development.

Who's standing?

Confirmed mayoral candidates:

* Councillor Kelvin Clout

* Former councillor Murray Guy

* Trustpower's community relations manager Graeme Purches

* Councillor John Robson

Thinking seriously about contesting the mayoralty:

* Former councillor Larry Baldock

* Councillor Bev Edlin

* Business development expert Max Mason

* Councillor Steve Morris

* Regional councillor Doug Owens

- Bay of Plenty Times

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