Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Local Elections 2016: Growth and infrastructure key issues for Hamiton

The biggest issue facing Hamilton in the next three years is growth and the city needs a leader who can plan for it with the right amount of infrastructure.

Outgoing mayor Julie Hardaker said her successor needed to have financial nous and be able to plan for growth.

Hardaker said the major challenges facing the city in the next three years were growth and investing in the right amount of infrastructure to support it. This was particularly important for development in Peacocke in Hamilton's southeast and Rotokauri in the northwest.

The mayor also needed to like people and listen to everyone in the community.

Outgoing Hamilton Central Business Association boss Sandy Turner agreed the biggest challenge was the city's growing population.

"We need to learn from Auckland's mistakes and have a mayor that is about growth, development and infrastructure, that has a clear vision about how our city is going to be able to accommodate the demands that our growing population is bringing.

"So we're looking for a mayor that isn't afraid to make some big decisions."

As for what skills or attributes they need, Turner said it was vital they had "experience and understanding of what councils are responsible for".

Waikato Chamber of Commerce chief executive William Durning said the biggest issue was how not only the city but also the whole Waikato region dealt with growth.

"We hold a very strong view that with Hamilton and Waikato being at the centre point of the golden triangle between Auckland, Tauranga and Hamilton, that means we will play a critical role in the long-term economic success of the country so the challenge for our mayor is how do we make that happen? We believe a strong economy is a significant part of that."

Outgoing mayor Julie Hardaker. Photo / Christine Cornege
Outgoing mayor Julie Hardaker. Photo / Christine Cornege

The incoming mayor needed to be a strong leader "genuinely thinking beyond the electoral cycle".

But North Hamilton Community Hub chairwoman Diana Wood said the northeast had already grown and a big issue was the lack of community infrastructure to match it.

"There's an urgent need for a community centre, library, swimming pool, bus services and things for young people in the area to do."

Disabled Persons Assembly Waikato president Gerri Pomeroy said the lack of affordable, accessible housing and transport was the biggest concerns for the disabled community. "The majority of disabled people don't have independent access to the car so are quite reliant on footpaths and transport. "

Pomeroy said the city needed a mayor who would work with all members of the community and be able to work well with councillors and staff to achieve good outcomes.


Current mayor: Julie Hardaker
Voter turnout 2013 - 37,276
How many enrolled voters - 100,434


Monday: Auckland mayoral hopefuls share their vision
Tuesday: Waitemata
Wednesday: Albert-Eden-Roskill and Manurewa-Papakura
Thursday: Albany and Howick
Friday: Licensing trusts and DHBs
Today: All the Auckland wards, plus regional highlights, in our local body election supplement

- NZ Herald

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