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Winning an election one conversation at a time

In October I was sworn in as the Mayor of Lower Hutt.

It’s the privilege of my life to serve Hutt people as their Mayor. There is something really special to be able to serve the community where I was raised, and where I live.  

For many people this outcome came as a surprise though. It was a hard-fought election campaign, and my opponent, romped home in the 2016 election with an 18,000 vote majority.

Seven Sharp even remarked that he was quite possibly New Zealand’s most popular Mayor.

I was under no illusion that the campaign was going be easy — and nor should it have been. Early on, I said that I would be out every day earning the trust, respect and support of people across the community.  

My campaign was focused, above all else, on one thing: having as many one-to-one conversations with people across the community as possible.

That meant friends talking to friends, neighbours talking to neighbours, and me personally making thousands of phone calls and knocking on hundreds of doors.

People told me they wanted change. They agreed Council should be tackling transport congestion, building infrastructure for growth, putting the environment front and centre, and operating in a more transparent and accountable way.

I’ve made a commitment to do things differently. A big part of that will be keeping in touch with local people, and ensuring that they are at the heart of Council’s decision making over next 3 years.