Local elections heat up as voting begins
By Deanna Harris
The competition between mayoral candidates is heating up around the country as local election voting papers start arriving in the mail.
Starting today everyone enrolled to vote - 2.956 million people, or 91.3 percent of the eligible population – will start receiving their voting packs.
In the main centres the battles are getting tough between the top candidates running for mayor of the nation’s cities.
In Auckland John Banks and Len Brown are virtually neck-and-neck in the polls for who will be the first mayor of Auckland's super city - but more than one-third of voters are still undecided.
A Herald-DigiPoll released this week gives Manukau's Len Brown 29.8 percent support to Auckland central's John Banks’ 27.8.
However, undecided voters still make up 35.2 percent of all those polled.
There are 961,536 Aucklanders enrolled to vote or 90.1 percent of the city’s population.
The future of central Hamilton is the main issue for the city’s mayoral candidates.
There are six candidates standing for the city's mayoralty but, according to the Waikato Times' Versus Research poll, only two – city lawyer Julie Hardaker and three-term councillor Roger Hennebry – pose any threat to current mayor Bob Simcock.
Mr Simcock is claiming there is nothing wrong with the central city despite concerns being raised about $3.7 million being spent on Garden Place, which has been described as ‘a dead duck weighing on voters minds’.
In Hamilton 93,112 people are enrolled to vote or 89.2 percent.
Mayor Kerry Prendergast has registered her fourth mayoral bid in Wellington, after saying she was not, then changing her mind in March.
Those challenging her include longstanding councillors Celia Wade-Brown and Bryan Pepperell, and businessman Jack Yan.
There are 136,098 people in Wellington registered to vote or 87.9 percent.
The mayoral race is Christchurch is heating up between current mayor Bob Parker and Jim Anderton.
Mr Parker has seldom left our television screens since the earthquake hit Christchurch.
But Mr Anderton is fighting back by attacking Mr Parker for making major decisions about the future of the city behind closed doors.
Before the earthquake website i-predict had Mr Anderton coasting with a 90 percent likelihood of becoming mayor.
The day after the quake that crumbled to 63 percent; latest figures have bulldozed it to 27 percent.
In Christchurch 89.0 percent are enrolled or 256,645.
Long-serving and well-known Invercargill mayor Tim Shadboult is being challenged by another celebrity politician, singer Suzanne Prentice.
Mr Shadboult is the longest serving Mayor in New Zealand but Ms Prentice says he and the council have lost focus and it is time for someone new.
source: newshub archive