A pilot turned Kerikeri lodge owner is the latest candidate to put his hand up for the Far North mayoralty.

John Levers announced his intention to run for the district's top job last week, joining an already crowded field with more candidates expected to join the race by the time nominations close on August 16.

Levers is best known for his campaign to ban Hi-Cane, a controversial horticultural spray, but said that wasn't why he was running for mayor.

''I think I've got the skills and I've got the time. A lot of people have approached me because of the spray campaign, saying you're the sort of person we need — you obviously care about the environment, you care about people and you're prepared to stand up.''


''I'm a bit outspoken but I don't think that's a bad thing in a mayor. You've got to be prepared to get out there and be heard.''

Although based in the Bay of Islands, Levers said he also had a lot to do with Kaikohe where he owned a commercial building.

If elected his priorities would include ''stopping the stupidity of the Kerikeri bus stop move'', sorting out the council's building department and resource consent process, and low-cost social housing.

''People say it's the Government's responsibility, but they're not doing anything about it and that's not putting people in homes. These are people in our community who are living in cars, in cold garages, and it's unacceptable.''

Levers said he had already put a business plan to the council to build low-cost homes at Ngāwhā prison, where inmates would complete pre-apprenticeship programmes, initially for the elderly and later for families currently paying exorbitant rents.

''If poverty, unemployment and housing were solved we'd get rid of the P problem as a matter of course,'' he said.

The former pilot flew in Papua New Guinea and for the UN in Cambodia before returning to New Zealand as a domestic pilot. A head injury nine years ago ended his commercial flying career so he moved to Bay of Islands where he owns a lodge and Puketotara Estate vineyard.

Other candidates confirmed so far are current Mayor John Carter, motoring journalist Peter Gill of Waipapa, Deputy Mayor Tania McInnes of Paihia, reformed gang member and Man Up programme coordinator Jay Hepi of Kaikohe, and councillor Dave Hookway of Waipapa.


Voting documents will be delivered between September 20 and 25. The election is on October 12. To enrol as a voter or update your details go to vote.nz, call 0800 36 76 56, or drop into any PostShop.

• If you are standing in the elections or putting on a meet-the-candidates event in Northland, email details to elections@northernadvocate.co.nz.