Two-term city councillor and Hamilton accountant Rob Pascoe will stand again this year, but wants to see changes at the top with no more surprise projects sprung on the council.
Mr Pascoe told Hamilton News it is time for a change of leadership, and while he is not running for mayoras he did in 2016, he believes Hamilton needs a new mayor.

"I'm quietly hopeful we will get a change of leadership, and that will give us a better space to take advantage of opportunities we have missed this term," Mr Pascoe said.

Mr Pascoe was one of two more candidates announcing this week they will run for Hamilton's East Ward.

Real estate agent Anna Smart has also put her hand up for a chance to change the current set-up around the table.

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"I won't say I haven't got the passion for the mayoralty, but I'm three years older now and it does suit someone younger and more energetic, someone around Angela O'Leary or Paula Southgate's age," Mr Pascoe, a chartered accountant in the CBD since 1974, says.

Councillors O'Leary and Southgate are two of the five candidates running for Hamilton's mayoralty, the others being current mayor Andrew King, councillor James Casson, and Louise Hutt.

Mr Pascoe said a big challenge for the current council over the past three years has been the number of surprise projects that have come before them, many of them ideas from Mayor Andrew King.

"The projects just come out of nowhere, like the cat de-sexing fund.

"The mayor had said we had a briefing but we had not had a meeting and then the people who we needed to ask questions of were not in the council chambers."

"The city kō (digging tool) is another, where he put forward this idea but couldn't explain what a kō was."

Mr Pascoe said it has been a hit and miss term for council this term, with a series of wins and losses for the council.

He said the appointment of Māngai Māori around the committee tables has been a big win.

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"The quality of the people who have been nominated by the various hapū have been outstanding. Bella Takiari-Brame especially has given us a breathe of fresh air around the finance committee table."

Mr Pascoe is aware that the future council will have larger challenges, with the development of the Peacocke subdivision underway.

Hamilton city councillor Rob Pascoe. Photo / Supplied
Hamilton city councillor Rob Pascoe. Photo / Supplied

"We need to make sure we manage the debt that comes with Peacocke very well when we go forward," Mr Pascoe said.

"We have to start repaying the Government's Housing Investment Fund in six years, and if the market is slowing down now then that is quite critical because we can measure how fast or slow our growth will be."

Mr Pascoe said climate change is also one of the most important issues council will need to tackle next term.

Mrs Smart is well known as a former PTA vice-chair at Te Totara Primary, and through her community initiatives including the Rototuna Business Network and networking group the Working Girls Social Club. She works at local real estate agency, Lugtons.

Mrs Smart believes strongly in fiscal responsibility and transparency around council spending, and is excited about the future direction of the city.

"We are a young, vibrant city with lots of exciting go-ahead initiatives, both at a council level and in the private sector. This is a city to be proud of, and as we look to future direction and growth we need to ensure we keep the lives and hearts of residents, current and future, at the centre of everything we do," Mrs Smart said.

With a family-focused vision for the city she says a balanced approach is required to ensure we maintain core services to existing residents as well as enabling city growth.
"There's a reason why Hamilton is growing at such a rate — it's because of how good it is to live here now.

"With national investment in local infrastructure, like the commuter train to Auckland, the completed expressway and residential and commercial development there's so much opportunity ahead.

"At the forefront of every decision council makes we need to remember we are creating a home for our children, and theirs."