Former Hamilton Mayors back Simpson

The Hamilton News reports:

Hamilton News spoke to four former Hamilton mayors to get their two cents worth on the upcoming local body elections. Ged Cann got their take on the issues they think are important and asked who their pick for the city’s new mayor is.

Always interesting to see the views of former Mayors who know what the job is about.

MARGARET EVANS 1989-1998

is the one talking about changing the political structure of the council to bring back some direct responsibility to councillors such as an infrastructure committee. That’s a really really positive idea.” …

“The jury is still out … I’m certainly leaning towards Chris Simpson and I am also leaning towards those candidates who are strongly in view of a new approach to what’s happening.”

RUSS RIMMINGTON 1998-2001

Top pick for mayor:

“My top pick would be Rob Pascoe. I think he has high integrity, he has a good professional brain. I think he will surround himself with talented people in the chairs.

“I think other councillors will respect him and staff will respect him as well. He’s out of PriceWaterhouse, it shouldn’t necessarily be a good numbers man but without a strong financial base a company or a council doesn’t run effectively.”

Mr Rimmington’s second pick was Andrew King.

“Poor Julie has had six years of cleaning up the mess of Claudelands and the V8s. I think Andrew – and I’ve heard him speak, he’s looking at social housing, he’s looking at key infrastructure, he’s trying to spread the cost not only on council but on other key stakeholders.”

Third pick was Chris Simpson.

“He’s got good experience in central government, good links to central government for cross funding, and Hamilton has had a very poor relationship with central government for many years. I would like him to have at least one term on Council – that’s his Achilles heel.”

DAVID BRAITHWAITE 2001-2004

“There’s a new man who has come into the city, he’s been in the city for a long time, he’s not currently involved in the political scene in Hamilton – his name is Chris Simpson.”

Mr Braithwaite said Mr Simpson would make an “appropriate and positive” Mayor.

“He’s had significant experience in Wellington in the parliamentary environment, he comes across as a man who would try and get people working together, and that’s what the city needs. What the city does need is some new blood.”

So two of the three ex Mayors picked Chris Simpson, and he was in the top three for the third. That’s impressive endorsements.

There are seven candidates for Hamilton Mayor, after Julie Hardaker retired. Julie has done a really good job these last six years and Hamilton needs a Mayor who can be innovative.