Nine men and one woman with varying experience of local body politics make up the pool of candidates in the running for the Western Bay of Plenty byelection.
The candidates include a benched Tauranga City councillor, former Western Bay councillor, two sitting community board members, former city council candidate and a self-confessed "new" local business owner.
The byelection is to replace Katikati-Waihi Beach Ward councillor Christina Humphreys who resigned in January. Voting begins on Thursday.
The candidates include independent candidate Bryce Bevin, John Clements, Griff Cooke, independent candidate Bill Hedges, independent candidate Rodney Joyce, David Marshall, Allan Sole and Kevin Tohiariki who all live in the Katikati-Waihi Beach area.
Candidates Andrew Hollis and independent candidate Kim Williams do not.
However, Hollis and Williams each said in their candidate profiles that they were best for the job.
Hollis - who was among Tauranga councillors benched by the Government-appointed commission - said he stood for fairer rates, less waste and more transparency and he would "push hard" for accountability.
"Who decided that rapid growth must happen in our area?"
Williams said when she previously stood for the Tauranga city candidacy she recognised it was critical to reflect the region's diversity and she was "ready to take action for us all".
Seasoned council advocate Allan Sole said he offered six years' experience as Waihi Beach Community Board chairman and would give voters a "strong voice of reason" to support the two existing ward councillors for good outcomes for the area. Sole also said he supported the council's attempts for a Katikati bypass.
Retiree and former Western Bay councillor Marshall said his role as chairman of the Katikati Community Centre Board and Grey Power Tauranga Western Bay of Plenty vice president - among other roles - reflected strong advocacy for local communities.
"On the council I fought tirelessly to contain rates ... this commitment remains."
Katikati Community Board member Clements said the community needed strong representation that put ratepayer and community interests first and if elected, his focus would be on "containing rate increases" and creating higher-value jobs in the area.
Businessman Joyce continued the concern about increasing rates, saying "For all our sakes, this needs to stop" and pledging greater transparency.
"I will not be a councillor who disappears between elections."
By comparison, newcomer and business owner Hedges said he brought fresh ideas and perspectives "and I am not part of the old status quo".
Hedges said it would be a privilege to listen and speak honestly and independently on behalf of voters. He was concerned that many retirees could not afford the rates.
Waihi Beach resident Bevin said if elected he would work to preserve the quality of life for local residents "with particular emphasis on the infrastructure to support the increased population and developments".
Somewhere in between the debate for and against rates, Cooke said there was an obvious need for increased infrastructure but there needed to also be an awareness on people's financial limits following Covid-19.
"Balancing these two points would be a definite priority."
People have until April 30 to vote for who they would like to represent them on the council.
Voting documents must be returned to the Electoral Officer, Western Bay of Plenty District Council. Voting documents can be returned by post or hand-delivered during normal business hours no later than noon on Friday, April 30, 2021. Voting documents must be delivered to:
• Western Bay of Plenty District Council's main office, Barkes Corner, 1484 Cameron Rd, Greerton, Tauranga
• Katikati Library and Service Centre, The Centre - Patuki Manawa, 21 Main Rd, Katikati
• Waihi Beach Library and Service Centre, Waihi Beach Rd, Waihi Beach.
• A person can apply to enrol as a residential or ratepayer elector up to and including April 29, the day before the close of voting.
For more information, contact the Electoral Office, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, phone 0800 922 822.