Meet the Mayoral Candidates 2019

Posted by Tauranga Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Tricky questions, fun facts and serious issues all featured as Tauranga's mayoral candidates faced off Wednesday night.

Nine of the 10 people in the running for the top job spoke at the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce Mayoral Candidates Forum at Baycourt's X-Space, and livestreamed on Facebook.

MC for the night, chamber chief executive Matt Cowley, was ready to referee with a red card at his podium, but he never had to use it.

The evening began with some introductions, which revealed a few fun facts about some of the newer candidates to the race.


Christopher Stokes is looking to step out of the shadow of his former All Black brother, Eddie Stokes, and Andrew Hollis spent a lot of time in corridors being disruptive in high schools.

Next the candidates turned to some of the big issues facing Tauranga.

The Bay of Plenty Times has further coverage of how the candidates answered those questions coming up.

The evening ended with some curly questioned tailored to individual candidates.

Les Wallen was asked about some comments he made on Facebook and if he felt there was a poverty gap in Tauranga.

He responded by talking about his belief that the United Nations - in a programme he did not support - was trying to "take control of the world" by controlling poverty, stripping money from wealthy people to give to the poor.

Deputy Mayor Kelvin Clout fielded a tricky question about whether he had ever taken a bus to the airport (there isn't one).

Having said he had not, then been informed there was not one, he pivoted to his love of running half-marathons and the "energy" theme of his campaign.


Tenby Powell was asked why he was only running for mayor, and not also for councillor.

He said he did "not want to work for either Greg or Kelvin" or any of the other candidates.

"I care deeply for Tauranga but I don't want to work for a council like this one."

Shortly after, Mayor Greg Brownless was asked which of the candidates he would want on his team, if re-elected.

"Oooo ..." said the audience, gleefully. Powell and Brownless had been trading jabs and retorts all evening.

Brownless picked the two incumbent councillors: Clout ("an excellent deputy mayor, and naturally that's where I would prefer he stay") and John Robson, for his "financial acumen" before saying he "better not" keep going.