John is a senior reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Dumped councillor unsure if he will return to politics

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Tauranga's youngest councillor Matt Cowley has been dumped by voters.  Photo/file
Tauranga's youngest councillor Matt Cowley has been dumped by voters. Photo/file

Voters have silenced the city council's voice of youth - and dumped councillor Matt Cowley is unsure whether he will ever return to the political fray.

Mr Cowley, 33, missed out on being re-elected and said he was now uncertain about what the future had in store, except that he needed to finish his Masters in Business Administration next year.

''I was surprised, but there is no point in dwelling on it,'' he said.

Mr Cowley polled near the middle of the field for the at-large candidates, securing 8277 votes - more than 3000 votes short of the lowest-polling successful candidate, Rick Curach.

In hindsight, he realised he should have put less emphasis on campaigning on digital platforms. ''It obviously did not touch a lot of people.''

Mr Cowley also put his loss down to voters opting for a more conservative focus.

With his income stopping as soon as the final results were through later this week, he said there were a lot of things he could do, whether it was in Tauranga or further afield.

''It is a good time to start a new chapter in my life.''

A big regret of being voted out was that he would no longer be able to use his influence on council to turn the tide of young people leaving the city. There was still the issue of people limiting their careers by staying in Tauranga, with a lack of lifestyle and fun things to do.

''That takes a lot more than three years to turn around.''

He would not commit himself to saying whether he would return to politics. ''I am eager to get back to earning decent money and getting my life back again.''

Mr Cowley said young people entered politics out of a sense of passion, but it could be a limiting factor once they resumed their careers.

''People are quite keen to cut politicians down, no matter what their age, and you get a brand fairly quickly.''

- Bay of Plenty Times

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