South Taranaki Mayoralty: What we know?

Current South Taranaki Mayor, Ross Dunlop announced he wouldn’t be running for another term after 12 years in May and said it’s been an absolute privilege to have represented his community, but the time is right to stand aside and spend more time with his family and get stuck into those projects he’s been putting off.

As it stands, there are two candidates that have put their name in the hat for the top job.

Who are they?

Phil Nixon… He’s served a term as a South Taranaki District Councillor from 2013 to 2016, then was appointed deputy mayor for the past term.

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.

His 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

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.”

Craig Baylis… 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.

“The mayoralty thing is really about my love for the area and frustration for what I believe to be lost opportunities. The council should be doing more to seek out and encourage investment”, he said.

“As a lifelong salesman, I can tell you one thing: you can’t sell a secret and this area, South Taranaki, has so much potential which is untapped”

The couple opened their clothing business, South Naki, after moving back to Hāwera last year for a change in lifestyle and to spend more time with their two daughters.

“There’s a whole lot of people leaving Auckland and Wellington for lifestyle decisions, I want us to get our share of those people,” he said.

Baylis said being mayor would help him open doors and bring more big business to the town.

If I was the mayor, should I be granted such an honour, one of my first jobs would be to ring up the owners or CEOs of the national chain stores; they’re gonna take your call because you’re the mayor of South Taranaki district.

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

Election day is October 12.

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