Better roads and affordable housing are key priorities for Alex Wright, who has put her hand up as a mayoral candidate in Whangārei for the upcoming local government elections.

The Whangārei grandmother, better known as a spokeswoman for the Pipiwai Titoki Advocacy for Community Health and Safety Group that successfully lobbied for the sealing of Wright Rd, is standing in the Hikurangi-Coastal Ward as well as the mayoralty.

It will be her second tilt at the Hikurangi seat, held by long-time councillor Greg Martin, but her first for the top job.

She came fifth in the last election, securing 746 seats, but is quietly confident of her chances this time around.


"Roading is my passion and as far as rural roads go, I think the district needs a priority list as to what roads need to be sealed. There also needs to be better planning and action on traffic congestion that's becoming a problem in Whangārei.

"On housing and in particular pensioner housing, the (Whangārei District) council needs a contingency plan to build more pensioner housing as well as Papakainga whanau houses for families."

Wright was disappointed at the 2016 results and said in hindsight, she should have hit the ground running earlier and put herself more in the limelight.

"I felt there were flaws in my campaigning. I didn't realise the significance of having leaflets and billboards ready on time but I know what I need to do better."

She reckons years of fighting for Wright Rd sealing has put her in good stead in terms of support from the grassroots.

Beating the likes of mayor Sheryl Mai and Martin would be a huge challenge but one she's looking forward to.

"I'll give it my best shot and leave the rest to the ratepayers who will ultimately decide the outcome. You don't know how you are going to fare if you don't try."

Wright says the council has lost its way by getting involved in "glamorous" projects such as the Hundertwasser project and the new civil centre rather than focusing on what matters to ratepayers.


Mai and lawyer Tony Savage are the other two who have so far confirmed they will contest the mayoralty.

■ Nominations are open from July 19 to August 16. Ballot forms will be delivered from September 20 with voting closing at noon on October 12. The new mayor, councillors and community board members should be known that evening.

If you are standing in the elections or you are putting on a meet-the-candidates event in Northland, email the details to