By Ella Morgan
Sep 30, 2019

Meet The Mayoral Candidates

Nexus asked all eight Hamilton City Mayoral Candidates to answer the same question: what do you believe is the biggest issue for students living in Hamilton, and what would you hope to do to address this if elected mayor?

By now you should have received your voting papers in the mail. Voting closes on Saturday the 12th of October; you will be able to vote for one candidate for mayor and up to six for your ward. If you do not yet have voting papers, you can receive special voting papers from the Elections Office in Hamilton. For more information about candidates and voting, visit

Over the period of a week, Nexus reached out to Mr Casson on multiple occasions. At the time of print, he had not yet responded to our request for comment.

Jack Gielen has previously been a freezing worker, union delegate, wastewater operator, salesman, radio promoter, counsellor, pastor, and activist. Jack says that “this range of experience along with rowing and musical interests readily relates me to the people of Hamilton”.

Jack thinks that student debt and inclusion in democracy are major issues for students. “Full inclusion, connection, how you relate and socialise, I think it’s a big issue because I find that a a lot of the young people are rejected, particularly with the elections they’re not included so we need to include them with ballot boxes and digital voting,” says Jack. “Advisory boards for the youth and 24/7 access...I’d expect everyone here [at the university] to have access to my office and I’d set up a youth council”. He also believes support for mental health and affordable housing are important problems to be addressed.

Louise Hutt is the youngest CEO of an electricity company in New Zealand, board member for GoEco, and holds a Master’s of Media and Creative Technologies from the University of Waikato. She has previously worked as a Screen and Media Studies tutor and served as Deputy Editor of Nexus. “My main hobby at the moment is trying to keep my houseplants alive - but I also like to knit and play video games,” Louise says.

According to Louise, poverty is a key issue for students. “When I was a student I just scraped by with the money I did have, working multiple jobs on top of my studies and still struggling at times, and that’s something I do not want others to go through,” Louise says. She also wants to include young people in decision making processes, “so the city that they see reflects their interests and what they need out of the city - both as students and thinking about their futures once they graduate as well.”

Andrew King, current Mayor of Hamilton, is seeking re-election. He attended Hamilton Boys High School and Wintec, then started his first business as an electrician. “I have run several businesses and held directorships on companies prior to becoming Hamilton Mayor in 2016,” says Andrew.

“As your Mayor, we have introduced free buses for 18 and under on weekends and those with disabilities all the time. I want to expand this program to include a lot more people should I be re-elected,” Andrew says. According to Andrew, he has worked with central government to establish a train between Hamilton and Auckland. “I see more and more under 30’s starting business in Hamilton, because Hamiltonians back Hamiltonians to be successful. My vision for the city is to continue to grow our housing, better city planning, proper rubbish recycling including weekly food waste collection for residential properties, no water meters, strong businesses and a strong economy.”

Businesswoman Lisa Lewis is running for Mayor for the second time. She’s previously worked all over the world, and ran a crane and equipment hire business with her late husband in the United States. In 2009 she was nominated for the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award.

After consulting students, Lisa says some of the concerns brought to her include affordable housing and high living costs. “[A student] private messaged me and said that she could only afford to eat breakfast so she was focused in class and skipped lunch and dinner. This deeply saddens me to read this and I thank this student for sharing this with me,” says Lisa. “I would like to look at Rates Relief for Landlords that pass this discount onto students...Infrastructure needs to be designed well with small spaces with green outdoor floor (shared apartments). Shared kitchens are great as creates social environment with social interaction which impacts our mental and physical well-being.”

Angela O’Leary has served as a Hamilton City Councillor for the past twelve years, and is now seeking the mayoralty. She grew up in Wellington and moved to Hamilton at the age of 17. “As an only child who was raised by a hard-working single mum, I grew up with old-fashioned Kiwi Values, and was taught to treat others as I wanted to be treated - and I carry those values with me today,” Angela says.

Angela believes that housing availability and affordability is an important issue for students. “As Mayor I will put together a Housing Symposium to stop talking about the issue and start finding a solution. This will start at the coal face because I want to know what kind of housing students see as their future,” Angela says. “I met a women on the campaign trail who has 5 teenagers between 12 and 17 years and she said each of them have a different idea of what their future home will look like.”

Paula Southgate has represented Hamilton for more than 18 years. Last election, she missed out on the mayoralty by only 6 votes. “I am proud of my key role in Project Halo to return Tui to the city, my leadership in water quality, and public transport. Most recently I led the renewal of Waterworld, the libraries, and our green spaces,” Paula says.

Paula believes affordable accomodation is a significant issue facing students. “There is huge demand on rentals and with a student loan and part time work it is impossible to buy a home. As Mayor my focus will be on the delivery of affordable, healthy homes for all,” says Paula. “We can’t do this alone but we must work with Government and the development community to make progress. This includes higher density apartments on main transport routes”. She also believes more can be done to improve key transportation connections, and partner with the university to improve sport and recreation facilities, such as a covered pool.

Long-time Hamiltonian Mike West has run an engineering company for 35 years, which he says “has taught me to adapt and innovate, two of the skills necessary to be successful in a changing business environment”. He has been a player, coach, committee member, club captain, president, groundskeeper and event coordinator with the Hamilton Old Boys Rugby Club, a former trustee of the WEL Energy Trust and is currently a trustee of Hamilton Rugby Clubs Trust.
Mike says that “physical and mental well-being, a sense of belonging, concerns for a viable future” are key issues facing Hamilton’s students. “I believe council’s role in supporting students dealing with these issues can be as simple as doing its job well. For example, an excellent transport network which benefits students and the wider residents, and a rubbish collection which can go down Hogan St and not leave half the rubbish behind.”

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