John is a senior reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Candidate critical of concert decision

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A new campaign strategy for the next election has been proposed by unsuccessful Tauranga council candidate Murray Guy.  Photo/file
A new campaign strategy for the next election has been proposed by unsuccessful Tauranga council candidate Murray Guy. Photo/file

Near-miss council candidate Tony Christiansen believes the decision to scrap the New Year's Eve concert at Mount Maunganui just before voting closed made a huge difference to his election chances.

In the initial progress results Mr Christiansen was only 159 votes behind Rick Curach who polled fourth to win one of the council's four at-large seats. In the preliminary results released yesterdaythat gap had closed leaving Mr Christiansen 93 votes behind. There remains 400-500 special votes yet to be counted.

"I am certainly disappointed," he told the Bay of Plenty Times.

He was upset that the council did not make the decision to scrap the Main Beach New Year's Eve event until last Tuesday, by which time most people had cast their votes.

"I believe it would have made a huge difference. The New Year's Eve celebration was a great part of Tauranga and to run scared of it was not fair," he said.

Mr Christiansen said he was shocked at the way the decision was handled, particularly at how the issue had been the subject of a secret briefing of councillors the previous week.

"Why did it need to be held in a briefing. It was something that concerned the public directly."

Mr Christiansen was a city councillor from 2010 to 2013 before being ousted at the last elections.

He did not think that campaigning harder would have made much of a difference to the result this time, saying that Rick Curach's Pick Rick campaign obviously worked for him. Both men received pretty much the same votes as the last election, he said.

However he was determined to have another go in three years' time. "I lost the battle but not the war."'

Another close contender was former councillor Murray Guy who provisionally polled 398 votes behind the second-placed successful candidate for the Te Papa/Welcome Bay Ward, Terry Molloy.

"Almost does not cut it," a disappointed Mr Guy said.

Mr Guy said he now intended to identify the strengths and weaknesses of his campaign so he would be better prepared next time.

He said the campaign funding gap between the have and have-not candidates could be shortened by the have-not candidates running a co-operative campaign of like-minded individuals.

Mr Guy did not think that being an out-of-ward candidate cost him votes - he lives in the Otumoetai/Pyes Pa Ward. He said that before the Otumoetai Ward was enlarged to include Pyes Pa, he had been a Te Papa/Welcome Bay councillor, and that was where his heart lay. "I am a Te Papa-Merivale boy."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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