Campaign costs revealed
New Plymouth Mayor Neil Holdom’s election campaign cost just under $500 and he swept into office by a landslide – but his nearest rival’s unsuccesful attempt to get the top job cost roughly 64 times that amount.
Holdom received 13,879 votes under the Single Transferable Voting system in October’s local government election, having spent $487.32 on Facebook adverts, signage and flyers.
Rival candidate Max Brough garnered 7013 votes following a campaign that totalled $32,247.50.
Brough, who spent $26,727.50 in expenses and received $5520 in donations, said it was not a waste of money.
‘‘To me it indicates that I was serious about what I was doing.
‘‘I did have a look, and a lot of the candidates’ expenditure was very low.
‘‘I guess for the incumbents it’s quite a lot easier because your name’s already known.’’
The spending figures are revealed in documents that have to be filed by the candidates within 70 working days of the election.
Six candidates ran for the New Plymouth mayoralty – Holdom, Brough, Joanne Kuvarji, Irene Godkin, Bill Simpson and Greg Mackay.
All candidates had to pay a $200 registration fee, but do not have to declare it, and most can have the fee refunded.
They can spend up to $50,000 on their campaigns.
Greg Mackay’s only mayoral expense was the $200 registration fee.
However, Mackay also ran unsuccessfully for council and spent $1131.50 on that campaign.
Kuvarji’s overall campaign, including an unsuccessful shot at council, cost $15,354, including contributions of $8400 and cash donations of $3400.
She had also put dollar figures on donated services such as a photo shoot.
‘‘That’s how the figure got so high.’’
Despite not making it on to council, the run was ‘‘most definitely’’ worth it, and she had learned lessons to take forward to the next election.
And next term, her costs won’t be as high because she already has items such as billboards ready to go, she said.
Godkin, who also ran for council, spent $1062.14, and Simpson, who also ran for the North Ward, spent a total of $938.92.
With most election returns for New Plymouth District councillor candidates filed, the majority spent anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand.
The spending limit for a New Plymouth council candidate has been set at $30,000.
After a close-run count which saw David Bublitz and Phil Quinney finish within three votes – with Quinney missing out – Bublitz had spent $1425.35 and Quinney $1276.
At the bottom of the spending heap were councillor Gordon Brown and candidates Chris Manukonga and Rob Needs, all of whom spent nothing, while Mike Crow listed only his registration fee.
Brown said campaigns were different for everybody, depending on where one was starting from.
‘‘Having said that, I’ve never spent a lot of money on any of my campaigns.
‘‘I don’t think spending money should be a barrier for a democratic process.’’
He said in his run he had used social media and the campaign against Yarrow Stadium’s $50 million repair and rebuild, but would struggle to put a dollar value on his efforts.
‘‘I’d hate to have to try and quantify that.’’
Four candidates, including elected councillor Marie Pearce, have yet to file their returns.
On the campaign trail: The six mayoral candidates took part in a debate at the New Plymouth District Council Chambers in the run-up to the election. Daily News editor Matt Rilkoff was the chairman.