The local body elections will be held in October and already a number of fresh candidates are putting their hands up for consideration.

The most recent is Kelli Pike, a former CBD store owner and vintage enthusiast whose most recent project has been the organising of a Ferrybank Market, who will run in the West Ward.

Ms Pike's main emphasis will be targeting the ailing CBD, but unlike other candidates who concentrate on attracting retail and business occupancy as the key to revitalisation, Ms Pike believes an approach based on the arts, community and events is key.

"I have a perspective that no one else has at the moment," she said.


Competing with The Base and other suburban malls on their own ground by relying on retail is a mistake, according to Ms Pike, who believes the CBD should play to its own strengths, including history, architecture, ability to host events and opportunities to capitalise on the cultures of the city.

She said many of the city's biggest selling points, including the river walkway, were hidden and needed highlighting.

Ms Pike described the current reputation of the CBD as a "black hole of nothingness", and while the Ferrybank Market she co-organises is a start she believes there are plenty more opportunity as the River Plan progresses.

"If you have events and you're showing people the good points they will come. They just don't want to come just for the retail," she said.

"There hasn't been a lot going on because of the opinion of the CBD but it's about embracing the River Plan."

Now is a prime time for the shift of emphasis, according to Ms Pike, with Aucklanders and other newcomers to the city who did not hold the prejudices of vacant shops and homelessness.

"In the last month I have been winding up the retail business of Teacup and Saucer to get ready for running for Council," she said.

"I'm hoping people see I'm genuine and not just throwing money at it because I can."

Ms Pike said she had very little money to put towards a campaign, but would be using social media to galvanise support.

"I have started a blog to allow voters to see me," she said.

On the issue of public transport Ms Pike said it was essential to drop the prices, with current price points putting buses on par with the cost of private vehicles.

The demand for housing spilling over from Auckland is a good thing, according to Ms Pike, but she said too much emphasis was being placed on the north, and there were three alternative directions of growth not being properly looked at.

She said house prices were always going to rise with increased population but the idea of first home buyers being priced out of the market was frightening.

Ms Pike said she was not an accountant and had no expertise on pipes or waste management, but said she would be studying the Council actions and issues in the run up to elections in preparation for the election.

You can read more from Kelli Pike at