Cam­paign costs re­vealed

Taranaki Daily News - - Front Page - Christina Per­sico christina.per­[email protected]

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.

SI­MON O’CON­NOR/STUFF

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.

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