There will be a three-way contest for the Tararua mayoralty in October's local body elections.

Incumbent Tracey Collis, who is seeking a second term, is facing challenges from Weber Rd farmer James Harold and company director Mitch McHardy, of Woodville.

Collis outlined her reasons for restanding in a recent Dannevirke News article, so the other contenders have been given the opportunity to put forward their reasons.

Harold says he is standing for the mayoralty of Tararua district so he can make sure the place he calls home can benefit from the opportunities presented to it.


"As mayor I would be working for you. I will ensure the council makes the right decisions and sets out a clear path to regional success."

Harold said he would make himself available to all members of the community and would actively encourage their participation in the decision-making process.

"I believe that the long-term goal for the Tararua district should be to live up to our clean green image and that the council should be leading by example."

He said this strategy would make the region an attractive place for the development of emerging industries, cement its position as a trusted producer and invite extra government funding for innovative projects.

"None of what I propose will cost any extra money."

Harold believes the world is changing.

"This is a fact that people need to accept. No longer can we rely on our clean green image to sell our products offshore. The global market is changing."

Weber Rd farmer James Harold is seeking the Tararua mayoralty. Photo / Supplied
Weber Rd farmer James Harold is seeking the Tararua mayoralty. Photo / Supplied

He said new standards were being set and more tests carried to ensure produce was not contaminated with pesticide residues.


"The 1080 baby formula threat damaged our image as a trusted producer and we have our citizens running smear campaigns against New Zealand for our reckless use of poison."

Harold felt it would be foolish not to take appropriate measures to protect and enhance the image of the Tararua district.

"I propose that Tararua District Council be the first in New Zealand to stop the use of synthetic chemicals on public land."

He said this bold commitment would put Tararua on the map and attract investment into the region.

"I do not want the place I grew up in to become a huge pine forest. Tax incentives have been put in place for research and development, so now is the time for the district council, with funding from various sources, to invest in the future success of the Tararua region.

"If we do this as a community, we will be presented with opportunities to take a lion's share of emerging global markets, partnering with global leaders to secure market share."

He believes wealth can be created within the Tararua district.

"We can keep the rates and government funding within our district instead of giving contracts to outside interests. We can lead the way forward."

McHardy, too, is looking to the future and making the district a better place to live.

Company director Mitch McHardy is contesting the Tararua mayoralty.
Company director Mitch McHardy is contesting the Tararua mayoralty.

McHardy grew up in Manawatū and, after riding motorcycles freestyle around the world with his step-brother Levi Sherwod, has settled in Woodville where he lives off the grid.

"I bought a section on the edge of town and converted a shipping container into an eco-friendly home that runs on solar power."

He said he wanted to look at alternative energy sources and to see what positive changes he could make.

A plan to fundraise for a skate park to be built in Woodville is what led McHardy into local politics.

"The more I looked into it the more there was to it. I wanted to form a political party but I thought it would be better so start of in politics at a local level rather than going national."

He said it was something he had been thinking about over the past year or so.

"Riding motorcycles is not something you are able to do for ever. I've serious injuries, a broken back and broken leg and my fitness isn't what it was."

He believes in aiming high otherwise nothing will be achieved.

"I want to be a voice in the community and to get things done rather than just talking about it. I want to be about it, not talk about it."

The state of the Manawatū Gorge was an issue McHardy has been pursuing and he has attempted (unsuccessfully) to obtain an engineer's report into the damage and what could be done.

"I believe if you want something done, you have to do it yourself."

As far as election issues are concerned, McHardy sees the lack of facilities for young people.

"There is no basketball court or skate park. There is nothing for them to do except walk around the streets. Other communities have facilities for young people."

He wants to be a voice for future generations.

"I could do nothing and in 10 years look back and think I should have done something. So I thought I would get myself out there, even at the risk of potentially embarrassing myself, but I feel I should have a go."