Watch NZH Local Focus: New Plymouth Mayor pips more experienced rivals

Zaryd Wilson

Neil Holdom snatched the New Plymouth mayoralty against what a few months ago were considered to be long odds.

Mr Holdom admits he was not a front runner at the start of the campaign but managed to find momentum.

"I have pretty good networks in Taranaki and have worked on focusing on the things that I believe in and really simple stuff," he said.

"Council's about roads, water, wastewater, that sort of basic infrastructure.

"So I sort of got that message out and then I really enjoy talking to people - spent the time on the campaign trail listening and thinking about what people wanted to know."

The 44-year-old has no experience on council but said he knows what to expect.

"In my role in Powerco I deal with 25 different councils across the North Island. I've been going to council meetings for close to 20 years," he said.

"Back in the day I was a reporter at the Taranaki Daily News, so I understand the process, I understand the Local Government Act. I know what we're getting into and I'm fortunate we've got a really strong team - there's 15 very capable people."

Mr Holdom said he would be an advocate for the district.

"I think the role of mayor and any elected official is to be stewards of the town. A key thing for our district will be letting people from outside the district know what a wonderful place this is.

"My focus will be to be out and about and showing people from around New Zealand and internationally what a wonderful place New Plymouth is to work, live and play."

Mr Holdom holds a 556 vote lead with all but special votes counted.

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- NZ Herald

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