South Taranaki voters know they will have a new mayor after the local government elections in October.

Incumbent mayor Ross Dunlop announced last month he was not seeking a fifth term. While nominations don't open until the start of next month, two men have already declared their candidacy.

Hāwera businessman and property owner Craig Baylis announced in March this year he would be contesting the mayoralty, while last month current deputy mayor Phil Nixon announced his candidacy.

Craig is standing alongside a team of candidates working with him under the name Team Energy.

Craig Baylis is running for mayor of South Taranaki.
Craig Baylis is running for mayor of South Taranaki.

Craig, who with his wife Jo moved back to South Taranaki from Auckland last year, was born in Ōpunake,grew up in Hāwera and started his career in sales there before moving to Auckland in the late 1980s.

Craig says the fact he doesn't have previous experience in local politics doesn't mean he doesn't know what needs to be done.

"I'm not an experienced local politician, but Jo and I are serious investors in South Taranaki and have a passion for what this region could be if we adopted a fresh perspective."

Craig says he wants to see better outcomes for the district in the future.

"I believe Waid Crockett, CEO of South Taranaki District Council to be a good man and a hands on manager who with the right support could steer his team to deliver better results and outcomes for us all going forward."

Phil Nixon served a term as a South Taranaki District Councillor from 2013 to 2016, then was appointed deputy mayor for the past term. He says that experience is important.

Deputy mayor, Phil Nixon, is running for mayor of South Taranaki in this year's elections.
Deputy mayor, Phil Nixon, is running for mayor of South Taranaki in this year's elections.

"I believe having experience in local government is very important for the mayoral role. Experience matters and after my time as a councillor and deputy mayor, I would now like the opportunity to serve the community as mayor."

Phil has lived in the district all his life, working as an electrician as well as running a farm, and says he wants to maintain and grow the momentum the council has built over the years.


"My focus would be on promoting sustainable economic growth, creating vibrancy in our town centres, improved promotions and making South Taranaki the best little district in New Zealand."

Craig says he wants to see it easier for people to come to South Taranaki and to set up businesses in the district.

"Imagine if our council treated everyone like a customer and shareholder. Imagine how much we could get done with the business people, developers and builders in the region all being encouraged to grow our province."

Phil says he wants to see more youth engaged with Council.

"Serving on school boards has allowed me to connect with my passion of seeing young people achieve and succeed. Mayor Ross has led a successful Mayors Taskforce for Jobs which has seen youth achievement developed and celebrated. I would like to lead a council that builds on this and promotes a much greater youth voice at council as these young people are our districts future."

The local government elections open on July 19 and close at noon on August 16.

Election day is October 12.