Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Famous names eye mayoralties

Reuben Shadbolt. Photo / Michael Craig
Reuben Shadbolt. Photo / Michael Craig

Firebrand former mayor Michael Laws says Wanganui people are urging him to don the mayoral chains again.

Laws, who retired from the mayoralty in 2010 after six years, has confirmed he is thinking of standing again, after a "delegation of folk" offered their support.

Laws wrote on his Facebook page this week that he was giving "very serious thought" to standing.

"Sorry, but this mayor and council is promoting a high debt/high rates/low promotion future for Wanganui and I can't see that in the city's best interests."

The former MP also wrote he was staggered by the lack of open communication with the community.

Laws would not comment yesterday, other than to say he was being pushed to run.

The Herald on Sunday reported in June that Laws was thought to be considering running for the mayoralty, after a source said the former radio shock jock had been sending increasing numbers of emails about civic affairs.

Meanwhile, the name Shadbolt will be back on Auckland mayoral ballot papers this year.

Reuben Shadbolt, son of longtime Invercargill mayor and former Waitemata City leader Tim Shadbolt - is to contest the Auckland mayoralty. He is also seeking a Whau Local Board seat.

The 41-year-old father of three said of his famous dad: "His advice was, take it seriously, know it's going to be tough and try to use humour and not get angry when I'm under fire."

Shadbolt jnr, who worked as a labourer before a back injury forced him on to the sickness benefit, realises his chances of becoming mayor are low. "I'm not deluded."

He had not sought political office before, but his school debating skills would serve him well.

As well as giving half his mayoral salary to battle child poverty, he would campaign on transparency, making Auckland the entrepreneurial green-technology capital of the world and zero tolerance for organised and violent crime, including in the home, he said.

His own family was in the spotlight over family violence in 2006 when his mother, Miriam Cameron, told the Herald on Sunday Tim Shadbolt repeatedly bashed her during their 20-year relationship - including while she was breastfeeding Reuben.

Reuben Shadbolt, who at the time his mother went public had been served with a trespass notice ordering him to stay off her property because of abusive outbursts towards her, recalled trying to knee his father in the ribs after seeing the results of one bashing.

This week, Shadbolt jnr said his family had moved on. "We were always a bit of a dysfunctional family but that was also a direct result of being a political family - we used to get threats in the mailbox ... I've always loved my parents but I'm my own person."

Last night Tim told the Herald on Sunday his son has his best wishes as he pursues a political career. "I wish him the best of luck. Of course he's nearly 42 now, he's his own man with his own ideas but I hope he does well."

South Auckland minister Uesifili UNasa will also launch his campaign for the Auckland mayoralty today.

- Herald on Sunday

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