The race for Tauranga's mayoral position has begun and Deputy Mayor Kelvin Clout has wasted no time in fighting for the role.
Mr Clout formally launched his campaign at the Tauranga Rowing Club on Sunday, flanked by family, including his mum and dad, friends, colleagues and supporters. He is the first mayoral contender to hold an official launch party since nominations closed on Friday.
Mr Clout told the crowd he was not coming in from the cold to the role. He has already served as deputy mayor and was now ready to take on the mayoralty full-time.
I want to champion Tauranga. It's a fantastic city. Long gone are the days where we are a sleepy, retirement village.
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Mr Clout was supported by fellow councillors Leanne Brown, Bill Grainger and Bev Edlin who attended the launch, where Mr Clout revealed his vision for Tauranga: New Zealand's most sustainable and desirable city for raising a family, building a business or career, and enjoying life.
''I'm not a 'just the one issue' person. I can see issues right across the city that we need to address.''
These included upgrading the city's water system, the widening of 15th Ave and Turret Rd, creating a new Papamoa east access route to the Tauranga Eastern Link and working to establish the much-talked-about Tauranga museum.
Mr Clout said Tauranga already had a lot of things going well for it such as the climate and beach, ''but we can't just rely on that''.
''We need to develop our business and economic life,'' he said.
''I want to champion Tauranga. It's a fantastic city. Long gone are the days where we are a sleepy, retirement village.
''The demographics of Tauranga are changing. We have more families coming to the city. We need to cater for top quality, talented people.''
Mr Clout said, as mayor, he would add his political weight to the work Priority One does to help sell Tauranga to businesses around New Zealand to encourage them to move to the Bay.
''The other thing in terms of business is we need the right infrastructure. We need a quality water plant and roading is a big [issue]. I want to make sure we bring forward the four-laning of 15th Ave and Turret Rd, and also look at the Papamoa east interchange to link that end of Papamoa with the Tauranga Eastern Link.
Helping bring a museum to the city was also key to revitalising the CBD area and evolving Tauranga into a modern, functioning city, he said.
''It's a shame we don't have a place to tell our stories.''
Mr Clout said he also wanted to liaise closely with central Government to help make sure ''we aren't bullied'' and to also work closer with local iwi with a Positive Post Treaty Settlement Partnership. There were a lot of assets that rightfully belonged with local Maori and the partnership would help foster deals to maximise the economic benefit from those assets, he said.
''It's not just good for iwi, it's good for everyone.''