The Northern Advocate has asked Whangarei's mayoral candidates Sheryl Mai, Alex Wright and Tony Savage to answer a series of questions as part of its 2019 local body election coverage.

We gave them 200 words to answer each question.

Today they answer the question: Given that any promise you make will need to get the backing of at least half of the other councillors to pass, how confident are you that you can get majority support and why?

Tomorrow they will answer the final question: Do you support moving some of Port of Auckland's work to Northport, and why/why not?



Best not to make promises that either can't be kept or will be a struggle to keep without support.

I do promise to continue working fulltime as your mayor. This election guarantees there will be new faces around the table and I am fully prepared for my ideas and policies to be challenged by elected members.

That is why we will get together after the election to share our hopes and dreams and agree on priorities. I also promise to act on the issues and concerns raised before and during the election, to the best of our ability.

My pledges through the campaign included continuing to prioritise the needs of our growing community, focusing on climate change, continuing to celebrate our success, and promoting innovation and future-focused decision making. I would hope the new council will agree to support these, but you can't win them all.

I have a proven record over the last six years of working with elected members to strive to achieve the best for our district. I look forward to working with the new council for the next three years, utilising their talents and maximising the democratic process for the benefit of the people we serve.


Effective leadership is about providing regular feedback - the good, the bad and the ugly, active listening, setting direction, developing capability, offering support, opening doors and removing constraints.


It is not about "winning" or Game of Thrones-style personality politics. Instead, leadership is about helping people see how they can best contribute to the community through council. In my leadership roles I have found the best results come from listening to people and allowing them to get on with what they do best.

It is important not to create a situation where there is, or the impression of, an "A team" and a "B Team". Instead, everyone should feel they are valued and can achieve to the best of their abilities. Inclusiveness is a very important value to hold dear, especially when the pressure is on.

I know that all the candidates have one thing in common – they want the best for the people of Whangārei. So do I. With this common goal I am confident that we can all work together for the benefit of the people of Whangārei.


The talk is that we need younger people in our council affairs.
We need the involvement of the next generation as voters and workers.

How can we attract younger people to council other than by showing that there is room for new faces with new energy and better ideas?

With luck I believe that we may get new faces on council, with me being one of them.

Even if we get the same old crowd, the writing is on the wall and they know it is time for change.

All of what I have said in the previous three answers is surely self-evident.

Work needs to be done, changes need to be made and I believe that councillors know this and will respond accordingly.

Do not forget that when I as a mere ratepayer confronted council with a serious pollution issue I achieved a unanimous council decision to have the sealing done on Wright and McCardle roads.

The council knew they were way behind with new sealing extensions from many years.

You can tell that from the council now having a sealing programme of significance, whereas in recent years they had no sealing plans at all.

Make your vote count

More than 100,000 voting packs for this year's Northland Regional Council, Whangarei, Far North and Kaipara district councils, community board and Northland District Health Board elections have been sent out for the election.

If you are not enrolled or have not receive your voting papers, you will need to check or update your details and enrol to vote, then contact the electoral officer to arrange a special vote.

To enrol to vote, freetext your name and address to 3676, phone 0800 36 76 56 or pick up an enrolment form from your local council or New Zealand Post Shop. You can also visit the website and enrol to vote online.

Votes must be posted back by tomorrow, Tuesday, October 8, to ensure they are received before the elections close at noon on Saturday October 12.

More information at, Election Services at or 0800 922-822.