As election nominations open for Hamilton City Council, the candidate lists are beginning to grow with more women looking to strengthen the number around the council table.
Chris Davis, who worked at Hamilton Girls' High School as a health and safety manager, announced she would be contesting a West ward seat.
There has been a common theme from the new batch of candidates that the current council lacks diversity, and Ms Davis said the same thing, saying some councillors have been there too long.
"My thoughts on the current council are that a number of them have been members for quite a while and appear to have lost focus on what is important to; and best for locals.
"Council does not consult wide enough across all communities — as all of us are impacted by decisions that they make. There is minimal diversity in our current council and this needs to change," Ms Davis said.
She said she is a future thinker who will be able to provide a fresh lens on the next council.
"My goal is to help cultivate a responsive and agile council that responds to the needs of its people. With my background in governance, management, education and law I know I have the skills, experience, tenacity and drive to succeed with this."
Ms Davis said affordable and healthy housing is a key priority for council, and that the city should be build up and not out. She also said that if elected she would focus on mental health and social wellbeing of the city's residents, and long term solutions to homelessness.
Along with Ms Davis, former Hamilton mayoralty candidate in 2010 Lisa Lewis is contesting the mayoralty again.
Ms Lewis said she is passionate about the city and will be a "resilient warrior" for Hamilton.
"I will be an influential leader who achieves cost-effective results and steers Hamilton on the right path, solving important problems along the way where rate payers will see a difference."
She said the current council has wasted ratepayer money, and that under her leadership she will bring it back under control.
"There has been wasted spending and decisions not just in the last term of 3 years — but in the last 9 years since I last stood for mayor in 2010.
"I disagree with spending thousands and thousands of dollars in art when there is roads, CBD and safety that need attention. Since 2011 according to the Hamilton Arts Agenda 24 public artworks in the city were valued at over $4.9 million.
"In 2017 news agencies reported on the Hamilton City Council looking at spending $73 million on a Waikato Regional Theatre to replace Founders Theatre. I don't understand this when we have Claudelands Event Centre, Waikato University and The Meteor to accommodate as an auditorium."
■ Footnote: Hamilton City Council as part of its 10-year plan only committed $25m to the total cost of the Waikato Regional Theatre.
Election debates kick off
As city council electioneering ramps up a series of debates and question panels and other events are being held to inform voters.
Seed Waikato is kicking off the show on August 6 at the Chartwell Room in Hamilton Gardens with their event "Let's give a sh*t about local politics".
The speakers include various young candidates from around the Waikato region, including Hamilton's Tim Young, Sarah Thomson, Matthew Small, Kesh Naidoo-Rauf and Louise Hutt.
On August 13, Chloe Swarbrick, Kelli Pike, Hannah Huggan and Nathan Rahui will hold a panel discussion at Waikato University, with the topic Getting Out to Vote.
The first mayoralty debate will be at SkyCity on August 22, hosted by Property Council New Zealand.
Candidates will discuss topics including infrastructure, growth and business confidence.
Further debates will be held for Hamilton East and West candidates at the Pukete Neighbourhood event, and the Western Community Centre.
Candidates seeking to be Hamilton's leaders for the next three years have until 12 noon on August 16 to put their hat in the ring.
Nominations are open for mayor and 12 councillors. Candidates can stand for the mayoralty, one of six seats from the East or West wards, or for mayor and councillor.
Candidates must be:
■A New Zealand citizen (by birth or naturalisation ceremony)
■Enrolled as a parliamentary elector (anywhere in NZ)
■Nominated by two electors whose names appear on the electoral roll within the respective ward the candidate is standing for.
The council's governance lead and deputy electoral officer, Becca Brooke, advises people thinking about standing to thoroughly research what the roles are responsible for.
"Those considering standing for council should also be familiar with documents such as the Pre-election Report, 10-Year Plan, Governance Statement and Financial Strategy. This will help them decide whether to stand, and to make good decisions on behalf of the community if they are elected.
"If you are embarking on a campaign, it's also important to be aware of the rules around election signs, social media and how much you can spend."
The council has launched an elections website, yourcity elections.co.nz, so would-be candidates and voters have easy access to all the information they need.
Nomination forms can be found at yourcityelections.co. nz/stand, the Elections Office in the council's Municipal Building, or by phoning 0800 922 822.