'Dump council' campaign still going strong

Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker. Photo / Christine Cornege
Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker. Photo / Christine Cornege

A billboard calling for the Hamilton City Council to be sacked hasn't been canned - it's just moved.

The disappearance of the billboard on Mill St at lunchtime yesterday caused a stir as councillors thought the man single-handedly funding the campaign was backing down.

But Hamilton businessman Ray Stark said the campaign was still blazing and the billboard had just moved across the river, to near the Deloitte building in Hamilton East.

It calls for the mayor and 12 councillors to be sacked over the $40 million V8 fiasco.

Another billboard advertising Claudelands Event Centre as for sale was still up, and both would remain so for at least one month.

Mr Stark said his campaign targeting the council's decisions and spending had got residents talking.

"It's been huge, absolutely huge."

Traffic to concernedcitizen.co.nz had also increased significantly in the past two days.

"I had a number of people talk to me today and send emails saying they wanted to stand for council - I'm not interested in that ... I'm not here to push somebody else's wagon."

Mr Stark has hired a team of graphics, PR experts and writers to run the campaign. He said another billboard was in the pipeline and was being checked by a legal team.

"This thing has been so well organised and legally it's been put through the wringer."

The point of the campaign was to reach Hamilton residents, and Mr Stark said he had no plans to approach the council directly.

"It's the public who run the city via the democratic process and people become very lethargic, and I'm tired of that."

However Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker and councillor Angela O'Leary yesterday said they wanted Mr Stark to contact them directly with his concerns.

"We live in a democracy ... If citizens have issues and concerns and they want to voice them it would be helpful if they did it face to face ..."

Ms Hardaker pointed out that she and councillors Margaret Forsyth and Martin Gallagher were not on the council when the issues being targeted were decided.

- NZ Herald

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