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Mission to be mayor - Who spent the most?

By Mike Dinsdale

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And how many votes did it buy them?

Money can't buy you love and it won't necessarily buy you success in politics either, as last year's local body elections in Northland showed that those who spent the most didn't get the most votes.

The Electoral Office has just released details of how much was spent by mayoral candidates in the Whangarei and Far North District council elections, held in October.

And the figures show that the two successful candidates - Sheryl Mai in Whangarei and John Carter in the Far North - spent far less than their main rivals.

Of the Whangarei mayoral candidates - Stuart Bell, Glenn Chapman, Crichton Christie, Vince Cocurullo, Shelley Deeming, Sheryl Mai, Greg Martin, Isopo Samu, Stan Semenoff, Warren Slater, Warwick Syers and Graham Tadman - only Mr Semenoff and Mr Tadman had not filed their election expense returns as required as of yesterday.

Ms Mai, who received 5502 votes, spent $10,781 on her mayoral campaign, with her digital media campaign the largest single item at $5201.95.

Greg Martin came second in the mayoral race with 4106 votes and spent $31,009.11 on his campaign - the most of any candidate across Northland - with advertising at $11,756.27 the largest expense. At the other end of the scale Glenn Chapman - who received 78 votes - spent nothing on his campaign, his return form shows.

Of the Far North mayoral candidates - Wayne Brown, John Carter, Ann Court, Mita Harris, Rueben Taipari Porter, Allan Titford and Sarah Watson - Mr Titford and Mr Porter had not filed their election expenses returns. Mr Titford is serving 24 years' imprisonment for a raft of offences, including rape and arson.

Mr Carter's return shows he spent $10,067.42 and received 9604 votes, with pamphlet printing and distribution at $4308.29 the largest expense.

Incumbent Mr Brown received 2868 and spent $28,568.38, the second-largest of the returns filed in Northland. Mr Brown's largest expense was advertising at $20,834.12.

Under the Local Electorate Act, 2001, the maximum amount of electoral expenses candidates can incur is based on the number of people in the area they seek to represent. All candidates had to file their returns by mid-December. Those who have not done so yet will be given until the end of this month to file a return before the matter is referred to police.

Full mayoral expenses page 4

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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