Dark horse eyes South Waikato mayoralty
Jarrad Gallagher is a big man with big plans for the South Waikato if he is elected mayor in the upcoming local body elections.
As the only non-local candidate the Hamilton based property developer, who is of Polynesian and Maori descent, describes himself as the ‘‘dark horse’’.
‘‘I might be a bit different from the other candidates, they have good hearts for the community, but I think I can do some new things,’’ he said.
‘‘There is huge potential and opportunities for the South Waikato and I’m hoping a fresh pair of eyes and a younger view will help that be realised.’’
Gallagher is no foreigner to the South Waikato though as he owns several properties, including his summer home, and two of his sisters live in Tokoroa.
‘‘I remember going to the council and asking why people would want to come to this area and was told it’s close to Taupo, Mt Maunganui, and Hamilton so I asked myself is this the centre of the universe? and thought I would test it out,’’ he said.
‘‘I spent 16 years in Asia based out of Hong Kong working as a regional manger for World Rugby and build up a few contact. I brought out 44 Chinese rugby players who were stationed at Tokoroa High School and we ate here, we lived here, and sure enough we drove to The Mount, Hamilton, and Cambridge so I thought this spot has something to offer.’’
‘‘About two years ago I thought ‘right I am going to start building some homes’ and I have put some real investment in. There is something in the South Waikato, there’s a lot to do of course, but there is potential and my vision is to create and rejuvenate.’’
That includes creating more affordable housing, building the profile of the South Waikato’s Pacific Island community as a drawcard for tourism, and creating an arts hub.
‘‘I really want to rejuvenate houses as there are some properties where people are living, bless their hearts, which you see and think they can’t be safe. They are not waterproof, they are cold, and they are rotting,’’ he said.
‘‘I want to talk to owners about working together to get rid of these houses and maybe subdividing to create more affordable housing. We will need to look at the District Plan just a little but we can do these things.’’
Property developer Jarrad Gallagher is standing for mayor in the South Waikato.