Dark horse eyes South Waikato may­oralty

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

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.’’

SUP­PLIED

Prop­erty de­vel­oper Jar­rad Gal­lagher is stand­ing for mayor in the South Waikato.

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