Stratford voters will have plenty of choice in this year's local government elections.

Three candidates are seeking the mayoral chains, with incumbent Neil Volzke, Rawinia Henderson and current rural councillor Graham Kelly all standing.

While Henderson and Volzke had each declared their intention to stand in May this year, Kelly put his nomination in just before Friday's deadline.

"I've always put my nomination (for Council) in on the last day. It's just what I have always done."

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Kelly has run for mayor once before in 2007, when both he and Volzke ran unsuccessfully for Mayor. They were beaten by John Edwards, who then served as mayor until 2009.

Kelly says having been self employed and running a business in the town for 40 years.

"I feel I know the town and it's citizens in a very personal manner".

He has been a district councillor for 18 years, and says he offers voters total commitment.

He also lists "empathy for the people who pay rates," and being "a man with vision, passionate about the future of our town" as being things he offers.

Current mayor Neil Volzke announced his intention to stand for re-election in early May this year.
Current mayor Neil Volzke announced his intention to stand for re-election in early May this year.

Volzke, who has held the position of mayor since 2009, has elected to only stand for the mayor's job this year. Henderson and Kelly have put their names forward for a council role as well as the top job. Henderson is also seeking a seat on the Taranaki District Health Board.

Volzke has previously said he brings stability and experience to the role of mayor, adding he has a proven track record in the role.

While he was uncontested in the 2016 election, he said in May he didn't think that would be the case this time.

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"I fully expect the mayoral role to be contested this time. It is a healthy part of any democratic process to have a contest for all positions on council. Voters should have a choice of candidates and exercise their right to vote."

Rawinia Henderson announced her candidacy in late May this year.
Rawinia Henderson announced her candidacy in late May this year.

When Henderson announced her candidacy in May, she said the decision to run was 'organic" after the events in Christchurch.

" It highlighted to me that there is often no voice for minorities.....minorities can seem invisible at times, and I feel they need a voice."

She said becoming mayor would enable her to speak up for the Stratford community.

"We could talk about the roading, the wastewater and all that, or we could focus on the social side. I believe if we fix the people, the land will follow.

"Maybe you don't think they are council issues, but they are. As mayor, I can get my voice heard at national government and effect change."

Voters also have plenty of choice of candidates in both the Urban and Rural wards.

The preliminary list of candidates published by Stratford District Council shows there are 20 candidates vying for the 10 available seats at the Council table. The six seats in the Urban ward have attracted 13 nominations, and the four Rural seats have seven.

A final candidate list will be published later this week.

In the Urban Ward, current councillor Kelvin Squire has not sought re-election, while the other five incumbents have.

The incumbents, Peter Dalziel, Jono Erwood, Alan Jamieson, John Sandford and Gloria Webby, are joined by newcomers Laurie Gooch, John Gray, Rawinia Henderson, Christopher James, Min McKay, Tony Milham, Ivan Toopi and Mathew Watt in seeking election.

In the Rural Ward, Keryn Walsh, who has served one term, has not sought re-election.

The other current rural councillors Grant Boyde, Rick Coplestone and Graham Kelly have all put their nominations in for another term, as have newcomers Stephen Dravitzki, Amanda Harris, Vaughan Jones and Nicole McDonald.

While Nicole is a newcomer to Council, she isn't the only member of her family with political aspirations.

Her husband Matthew McDonald has served one term as a Taranaki Regional Councillor and looks to have been re-elected unopposed this year.

There were no other candidate names listed for the one vacancy available for the Stratford District Constituency of the Taranaki Regional Council after nominations closed on Friday, August 16.

Seven of the 11 candidates for the Taranaki District Health board are elected from across all districts, while the remaining five appointments are determined by ministerial appointments.

No list of candidates is currently available on the TDHB site, but Stratford District Council lists Rawinia Henderson as a candidate, and South Taranaki Council lists Te Aroha Hohaia as one. New Plymouth District Council does not have a list online.

The Local Body Elections, for District and Regional Councils, Community Boards and the Taranaki District Health Board, will be held by postal vote on October 12, with the official declaration of results on October 17.