Voters finally turned out last night to hear local body candidates speak.

More than 100 people turned up to Matua Hall to hear candidates running for the Tauranga City Council at large and for Otumoetai/Pyes Pa ward outline their visions and platform ahead of the October 14 election.

The attendance was in stark contrast to previous evenings when only a handful of voters showed up.

Eleven of the 13 candidates at large attended, with just Jim Pringle and Kevin Millin did not attend.


Mike Baker wasted no time in telling the mixed-aged crowd the council was toxic and dysfunctional and new blood like him was needed.

The remark was quickly rebuffed by current councillors Rick Curach and Bill Faulkner.

Cr Curach said he was familiar with council groups and the current one worked.

"I take exception that the current council is dysfunctional and toxic. The particular council is one of the most harmonious and reasonably balanced."

Cr Curach referred to the creation of the ASB Arena and waterfront park as key investments made possible by the council.

More verbal punches were thrown after Tony Christiansen's explanation that he had been learning the ways of council over the past three years and he hoped to learn some more.

Mayoral and at-large candidate John Robson said perhaps Cr Christiansen could have learned more if he had attended more council meetings.

Earlier this year the Bay of Plenty Times revealed Cr Christiansen had the worst record for attending council meetings, with an attendance rate of 86 per cent last year.

At the time, Cr Christiansen said he thought he had been "quite diligent".

Gail McIntosh, who is also running for the Bay of Plenty District Health Board, was the first of only two female at-large candidates to speak.

Ms McIntosh said it was imperative someone on council knew how to read a spreadsheet, and referred to her financial background as an accountant.

"If you vote the same, you get the same," she told the crowd.

"If you don't vote, you get the same," she said.

The floor was then opened to candidates for the Otumoetai/Pyes Pa ward where Bev Edlin, Dale Henderson, Richard Kluit, Ramesh Sharma and Catherine Stewart introduced themselves.

But candidate Fleur Harawira received one of the biggest ovations.

She said the community and the council needed to address the rate of teenage suicide and a vote for her was a "vote for family".