In the coming weeks the Northern Advocate will profile candidates vying for the position of mayor in the upcoming Local Government Elections. Alexandra Newlove spoke to Whangarei aspirant Kay Brittenden, a manager and former nurse.

A woman with 20 years' management experience says she won't put up hoardings and will instead use her "good name as a campaign" to become mayor of Whangarei.

Kay Brittenden served a term apiece on Whangarei District Council and Northland District Health Board "sometime in the 1990s" and is now aiming to be elected mayor come the October Local Government Elections.

She is also running as an Okara ward councillor and for a place on Northland District Health Board.

"I'm a serious contender for mayor, I hope," Ms Brittenden says.


"I figured it's the leadership role.

"Twenty years of management is all leadership whichever way you look at it.

"That's where my skill base lies."

Ms Brittenden is a trained nurse but gave it up when a patient broke her arm and she could no longer do heavy lifting.

She went on to manage Bush Road Medical Centre and Sudbury Accounting.

Ratepayers can expect honesty and balance if she is elected, she said.

"It's a learnt skill to be able to say there is an answer, and the answer is no.

"People might not like it, but they appreciate getting it straight," she said.

Ms Brittenden said she would focus on helping businesses thrive, but is somewhat vague on how this would be achieved.

"I've heard some criticism around the rates and a failure to attract business into the area.

"That's something I would focus on: Attracting business and maintaining what we've got.

"Empty shops are not a good look," she said.

She was yet to take a position on whether she agreed with - and would look to maintain - a series of rates increases kicked off by the current council.

"So far as the rates rises go, it is hurting businesses.

"But I'm not going to say they shouldn't have [put the rates up], because I don't know enough about where the budget sits ... I don't know what their spend is and I don't want to make promises and then turn around and find I can't keep that promise."

Ms Brittenden had just spent more than a month in hospital for a one-off surgery, which had slowed her preparation for her campaign and had left her job to be able to commit to the council or District Health Board if she was elected.

"Having worked full-time. I decided it was time to give something back to the community," she said.

"I'm hoping the fact that I've had a longstanding relationship with the community and high-profile jobs will be my campaign."