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My campaign, to be Mayor of Tauranga, is built on the need for more respect.

Everywhere I go, everyone I talk to, from businesses to individuals to community groups, all talk to me of a lack of respect from our Tauranga City Council Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Elected Members. And now, it seems, they are directing their special brand of disrespect to me.

Of late I’ve been made aware of ex-reporters and others contacting my friends and former business colleagues in the hope of unearthing some dirt or information that might discredit me.

They seem to be lurking in the shadows and I can only assume they have been hired by my competitors. My network and contacts across the country are strong enough that I am quickly made aware of the tactics each time a call or contact is made.

I’ve even approached one of the reporters who I know is digging around and offered to meet and answer any and all questions. After all a journalist of integrity would surely want to get all sides of a story.

My offers have been ignored which only confirms my concerns that this is, in fact, tabloid, gutter journalism at its worst - activated by those desperately clinging to their roles as our civic leaders.

I’ve held senior business and government appointments. I’m happy to share my background and have had my full CV on my website from the outset of my campaign.

I have challenged other Mayoral candidates to do the same so that voters can be informed and choose their preferred Mayor on merit, credentials and past achievements - not on idle future promises. I am yet to see the other Mayoral candidates do the same and I have to wonder why.

Good leadership is about setting high standards and leading by example. I challenge my fellow Mayoral candidates to step away from gutter politics and afford our residents the respect of focusing on our city’s priorities and needs in this election campaign. Because, quite frankly, Tauranga Deserves Better Leadership.

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