The race for the Hamilton mayoralty, and the 12 other seats around the council table officially begins on July 19, when nominations open.

So far, none of the current 12 councillors have announced their intentions to stand down, however councillor Paula Southgate will only contest the mayoralty, which eases pressure on the race for one seat on the East Ward.

So far, the mayoralty is being contested by incumbent Andrew King, while current councillors Paula Southgate, Angela O'Leary, and James Casson have also announced they will run for mayor.

Outside of the current council, Louise Hutt, 26, and Lisa Lewis, 38, have also announced they will contest the mayoralty.

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Andrew King. Photo / File
Andrew King. Photo / File

Mr King, who won the mayoralty in 2016 just six votes ahead of Paula Southgate, earlier in the year said he had more to give as Hamilton mayor.

He said under his leadership, the council has taken giant strides in developing the city for the future, with the opening up of the Peacocke growth cell, and opening the city to the river.

As part of the council's 10-year plan, funding was put in to develop residential growth in Peacocke, along with the help of a 10 year interest-free Government housing infrastructure loan.

However, the 10-year plan was also embroiled in controversy after Mr King sought $30 million to buy and demolish buildings on Victoria St.

The amount to buy buildings — but not yet demolish them — was reduced, despite public feedback against the project. The four buildings cost ratepayers $6.49 million. The properties had a current market value of about $4.3m.

Paula Southgate. Photo / File
Paula Southgate. Photo / File

Mayoralty candidate Ms Southgate wants to bring more community involvement to the council table. She said if elected, she would re-establish community based forums focused on youth, seniors, disability, arts and business.

These forums will be co-designed and co-run with the community and include all councillors. They will not have fixed membership but be run in tandem with key leaders from relevant organisations.

Ms Southgate came to Hamilton City Council with over 15 years' of local government experience at Waikato Regional Council, including a term as chairperson in 2013-1.

She has strongly supported the Hamilton libraries, and the development of Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park — an ecological restoration project.

Angela O'Leary. Photo / File
Angela O'Leary. Photo / File

One of Hamilton's longest-serving councillors — since 2007 — Ms O'Leary announced that she would contest the mayoralty, and a seat on the West Ward.

Ms O'Leary has strongly disagreed with Mr King over much of the 2016-19 term. She said Hamilton has suffered from poor leadership, and that residents are struggling under soaring rates.

She voted against the rates increase in the 10-year plan, along with Paula Southgate and Siggi Henry.

Hamilton ratepayers were hit by a 9.7 per cent rates increase in year one of the 10-year plan, along with a three-year transition to a full capital value rating and UAGC of $500.
From year two of the 10-year plan there will be a 3.8 per cent annual rates increase.

James Casson. Photo / File
James Casson. Photo / File

Councillor James Casson also threw his hat into the ring to run for mayor.

In 2016, Mr Casson collected more than 4000 votes, and was elected on to the East Ward with an election budget of just under $700.

Mr Casson has focused strongly on improving CitySafe and has held numerous crime prevention meetings over his time in council. He was also one of the three councillors advocating the re-design of the Thomas Rd/Gordonton Rd intersection, which later had traffic lights installed.

Louise Hutt. Photo / File
Louise Hutt. Photo / File

Louise Hutt is Hamilton's youngest mayoral candidate, and is fed up with what she says is the current council misrepresenting the people of Hamilton.

A key policy of hers is focusing on climate action, and as a member of Go Eco's governance board, her credentials stack up.

She is also the CEO of an electricity social enterprise and works with a team of 12 — the same number of councillors she will work with if elected.

Ms Hutt also said it is a crucial time for millennials born in the late 1990s and 2000s to take part in their democratic right, as voter turnout continues to drop.

Hamilton's most recent mayoral candidate is Lisa Lewis, who previously ran for the mayoralty in 2010.

Lisa Lewis. Photo / File
Lisa Lewis. Photo / File

She says if elected she will manage rate rises by eradicating a culture of wasteful spending within the current council, while also supporting the homeless by providing a building that provides accommodation and food in Hamilton.

She targeted the council's Your Help May Harm campaign, saying council is ignoring the homeless problem.

The campaign tells residents to not give money to people who are begging, but instead call CitySafe.

"I would really like to see a different strategy where rates don't go on a patrol unit and council telling homeless not to beg. Instead a trial where another homeless shelter is set up for the homeless where they can be in a safe environment."