Chadwick and Winters face off for Rotorua mayoralty

By Matthew Martin

The race is on for Rotorua's top job, with two high-profile community leaders putting their hands up for the mayoralty of the city.

Elections for the Rotorua District Council and the city's mayoralty will be on Saturday, October 12, with incumbent Mayor Kevin Winters and former Rotorua MP Steve Chadwick being the first candidates to put their hats in the ring.

Mrs Chadwick wants to lead the city into a brighter future after announcing plans to run for mayor to The Daily Post yesterday.

Mrs Chadwick said she had thought long and hard about putting her hand up for the city's top job.

Mr Winters said he had a lot more work to do and wanted to see a number of major projects through to fruition.

Since her general election loss to Rotorua MP Todd McClay in November 2011, and subsequent retirement from national politics, Mrs Chadwick set up a consultancy business working in the fields of health, conservation and local government.

She picked up several contracts, including work for a non-governmental conservation organisation and the World Bank, but said her real passion was for Rotorua.

"I have had overwhelming pressure [to stand for mayor] from people in the community who say we all need change."

This year she said she wanted to be bold, looking to take the top job from Mr Winters.

Mrs Chadwick said her slogan was "picking it up - powering the community" and would focus on four key strategies; setting up Rotorua as an "Energy Hub" promoting geothermal energy and bio-energy from wood products; heavily promoting Rotorua's "Spa City" concept; a bold "seismic" redevelopment of Rotorua's central business district; and strong leadership.

"This will be a very positive campaign focused on the community and making sure they understand the vision.

"Behind each strategy is a whole range of actions ... I'm committed to Rotorua, there's no use sitting on the sidelines throwing rocks, the community needs to know where we are going."

She said there was a feeling in the wider community the council's administrators were leading elected members around by the nose.

She said she wanted to change those perceptions.

"This is done with very clear leadership making sure the community is clear about the direction they want to see the city take," she said.

Mr Winters said he welcomed all mayoral candidates.

"I'm only halfway through all the jobs I wanted to complete when I started in this role."

He said he wanted to make sure the district's lake water quality issues had been addressed, lakeside sewerage schemes had been completed, the Rotorua Safer Families programme was fully operational and the Grow Rotorua council-controlled organisation and Tourism Committee had delivered.

He also said he wanted to see two major local roading projects completed - the Rotorua Eastern Arterial and Victoria St bypass, as well as the development of a sustainable and profitable regional airport.

Another aim was to see through the redevelopment of the Rotorua central business district.

"We are on a roll now ... I want to concentrate on what we are doing well and we will continue to deliver," he said.

"I look forward to the democratic process."


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