Biggest spenders in local elections are not always the biggest winners
Spending thousands of dollars does not guarantee success, as some candidates in the recent local body elections discovered.
What each mayoral, council and community trust candidate spent is a matter of public record, with each having 55 days after the election result to provide a return.
That deadline was last Wednesday and the returns are available for scrutiny in Porirua City Council’s customer service centre.
Porirua mayor Nick Leggett spent $13,701 on his election campaign, through advertising, billboards, flyers – with accompanying design costs – and postage and mailing.
He was the only candidate who paid for polling to be done, to the tune of $2115.
It paid off, Mr Leggett romping in with nearly 6000 votes, almost double his nearest rival.
Local residents John Watson and Dave Wilson contributed $ 2000 each to Mr Leggett’s running.
The two biggest spenders, however, did not fare as well as Mr Leggett.
Russell Marshall, who garnered just 1263 votes towards the may- oralty, spent $15,283. ‘‘General’’ expenses accounted for $ 7493 (including the shop lease under the canopies, phone calls and catering) and $7790 for posters, leaflets, billboards and newspaper advertising.
Although he received $ 2500 from Ken Douglas and fundraised $1560, more than $10,000 for his failed run at the mayoralty came from his own pocket.
John Burke, meanwhile, spent $15,620 but was unsuccessful in his bid to retain his seat on the Hutt Mana Charitable Trust or Greater Wellington Regional Council. He did, however, regain his position on Porirua Community Trust.
Litea Ah Hoi and Wayne Poutoa, who ran a joint campaign for the mayoralty (for Ms Ah Hoi) and for Porirua City council seats, had a good return for just $2000 spent. They received plenty of donations, including $200 from then-Mana MP Winnie Laban, and both won council seats.
Other unsuccessful mayoral candidates, in order of their spending, were Liz Kelly ($8043, the Ngati Toa runanga donating $ 5000 towards her campaign), Mike Duncan ($2530) and Brian Collins ($1428).
Peter Windsor declared he did not spend a cent, perhaps reflected in the fact he got 151 votes. Piripi Gray and Gregory Fortuin, the latter who had prominent billboards around the city, did not file returns.
This is in breach of the Electoral Act and is liable for a $1000 fine. PCC electoral officer Mike Chapman said some candidates may have sent their returns to Christchurch, where votes were counted, and there would be ‘‘a few days’ grace’’.
The biggest spenders of the ward candidates were in the northern suburbs – Tim Sheppard leading the way with $7236, followed by Euon Murrell ($3517), Sue Dow ($3331), Anita Baker ($ 3128) and Bronwyn Kropp ($2972).
The sole unsuccessful Northern ward candidate, Pukerua Bay’s Pauline Morse, spent $1024 on her campaign.
In the western ward, Graeme Ebbett, who finished well down the polls, spent $3518, and ‘Ana Coffey and Ken Douglas forked out $2562 and $1131 respectively. Mr Douglas campaigned alongside the unsuccessful Henry Smith, so they shared costs.
Liz Kelly’s $8043 was for her combined mayoral/council punt; Toni Tana spent $ 659 and Viktoria Jakobs failed to file a return.
In the eastern ward, the biggest spender was Denys Latham, with $1509. Unsuccessful candidates Jude Barlow and Hayden Nash put $617 and $710 respectively towards their tilt for council positions, although Mr Nash had two donations that covered all his costs.
Dave Cochrane spent $702 in a failed effort but Rob Rangi, a councillor in term from 2004 to 2007, used old signs from previous election bids and thus his only outlay was $400 – the cost to register as a candidate.
Piripi Gray, Tim Manu, Maria Salu-Burgess and Faafoi Seiuli, the latter polling second in the ward, all failed to submit returns.
Sarah Dow, elected onto Hutt Mana Charitable Trust over Mr Burke, spent $2944 on her campaign.