You’ll never find a mayor with more “skin in the game” – Craig Balis

Opunake born business owner Craig Baylis sat down with Bryan Vickery recently to discuss his bid for the South Taranaki mayoralty role.

Baylis, a former car sales manager and his wife Jo packed up their family and moved to the District from Auckland to try their luck at the 2019 body elections.

The duo believe the purchase of property and a business in South Taranaki shows their dedication to the district and they plan to purchase more in the near future, calling it “skin in the game”.

“We’ve worked for other companies and helped make big money” Craig told Bryan during the 15 minute interview.

The mayoral candidate has been under fire recently for the naming of his Union Street shop “South Naki”, selling merchandise with the logo imprinted.

Will Edwards, a respected iwi leader told RNZ the candidate has been deliberately offensive by chosing to use the term “Naki” and wanted to meet with the couple to discuss this further, however, Mr Baylis said the name was not derived from Taranaki but rather the Māori Dictionary translation for the word “naki” meaning to glide, or move with an even motion.

He said he was sticking with the branding.

Ngati Ruanui iwi leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer says “you do not have to own multiple properties to have skin in the game – every member young or old, rich or poor of South Taranaki equally has “skin in the prospects” of our district’s future,

Iwi particularly will have a very different view.

It’s concerning that a mayoral candidate strategy is to be divisive upsetting members of maori speaking community and now dismissive of non property owners interests. This district needs a mayor who respects all citizens equally and unites diversities”

Current mayor Ross Dunlop says he loves the job and people but he has yet to commit to running for a fifth term.

Elected unopposed to the mayoralty in 2016, he said he would decide closer to the time whether he will run again in the 2019 local body elections.

Undoubtedly, Dunlop has been a fixture of the South Taranaki District Council since 1989, when he was first elected as a councillor.

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