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Election spending revealed

Masterton District Council candidate Tina Nixon speaks at a candidate meeting. PHOTO/FILE

Nixon tops the campaign spendings

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There is a huge range in what local body election candidates spent on their 2019 election campaigns.

Some spent nothing and got elected to various boards, while others spent thousands of dollars and were not elected at all.

Masterton mayor Lyn Patterson spent $9222.90 and incoming South Wairarapa mayor Alex Beijen spent not much over a thousand dollars – $1279.08.

Carterton mayor Greg Lang spent $3467.28.

All returns on election expenses had to be declared by December 13, however some successful candidates missed that deadline.

Gaining a public profile generally meant spending on billboards, radio, and newspaper advertising and leafleting to get a name, face and election platform known.

But having a controversial or topical issue that catches the eyes of a social media platform or a newspaper editor can also raise a profile instantly.

Graeme Farr ran for mayor on one issue in the three Wairarapa districts.

He paid for one full page newspaper advertisement.

He only spent $382.95 in each district.

His election platform of calling on the government to dig a tunnel through the Remutaka Ranges for vehicles to get to Upper Hutt and back gained media coverage, but he wasn’t voted in.

Candidates with a profile and known to be involved in the community or are in business generally spent more than $1000 on their campaign.

The greatest costs were for the design and printing of billboards.

Many candidates did not use billboards to promote themselves.

Masterton District Council candidate John Lapslie spent $2523.35 and more than half of that was radio advertising but he was unsuccessful.

Many election expense returns were around the $500 to $600 mark. Where there was no competition, sensibly no money was spent on campaigning.

New MDC councillor Sandy Ryan spent more than most councillors at $4380.10 but was also successfully elected to the Masterton Lands Trust.

Many candidates who spent nothing at all didn’t get elected if there was competition.

Unsuccessful Masterton Community Trust candidate Aileen Haeata had no expenses as she had a handheld banner recycled from another campaign that had writing on one side – she wrote on the other side for these elections.

Brent Goodwin and Tom Hullena had no expenses to declare and each got elected to the Masterton Community Trust and Masterton Lands Trust respectively.

The maximum amount that candidates for the Masterton Lands Trust and Masterton Community Trusts could spend was $20,000.

Masterton District Council candidates spending is capped at $20,000; Carterton $7000; and SWDC $14,000. The council candidate campaign amounts are calculated by population size.

None of the candidates spent anywhere near this other than MDC councillor Tina Nixon at a spend of $14,178.35 and she said, “this was money well spent”.


  1. Oh, the irony of Tina Nixon spending the most money on her election campaign when her platform was taking a chainsaw to Council spending. Not one to take a leaf from her own book, I guess.

  2. Tina Nixon said pre-election that she’d donate her salary if she was elected Mayor. Does the same promise stand true now she’s on the council? Or was that just typical tory spin?

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