Biggest spenders elected

Christine Garey
Christine Garey
The five biggest spenders vying for a seat at Dunedin's council table were elected — and the top two spent nearly $100,000 between them.

The Dunedin City Council last night released the list of donations and expenses from this year's local government election, showing how candidates spent, or did not spend, their money.

Some candidates poured tens of thousands of dollars into their council bids.

Christine Garey spent $54,641.56 on her campaign, which was covered by a donation from the Garey Family Trust.

Her mayoral bid was unsuccessful, but she was re-elected to the council and was later appointed deputy mayor.

Cr Garey said it was important for her to be independent and not accept donations other than the one from her family.

She said she was proud of the "positive" campaign she ran.

"I’m delighted with the results — it’s a great combo."

Her spend on traditional advertising far outstripped her social media spend, at $4543.91 to $600 respectively.

That reflected her constituency, who were not "big social media users", she said.

The second-biggest Dunedin spender was re-elected councillor and mayoral candidate Andrew Whiley, who spent $40,341.71.

He received $13,154.85 in donations, including $3482.85 from a $250-a-head campaign launch lunch.

Cr Whiley said the fundraising lunch, attended by 17 supporters, was the reason he missed an Otago University Students’ Association election debate.

He had aimed to spend $35,000, but outstripped that.

"My wife and I looked at the campaign, and what was needed to run a successful campaign, and basically that’s what we went forward with."

Rounding out the top five big spenders were newcomer Jules Radich, who spent $29,101 and received $12,006 in donations from the Golden Centre for print ads; Chris Staynes, who was re-elected to the council and spent $23,975.29; and Lee Vandervis, who was also re-elected and spent $15,799.84, although he was disputing some advertising costs.

Two candidates did not spend a cent but had contrasting results.

Jim O'Malley was re-elected to the council, while Neville Jemmett did not make the cut.

Cr O’Malley had a no-spending policy for his campaign.

The three Green Party candidates, who campaigned together, collectively spent $13,743.13.

Aaron Hawkins was elected mayor, and Marie Laufiso was re-elected to the council but Scott Willis missed out.

They received combined donations of $2000 worth of in-kind design services.

Candidates for the Otago Regional Council seemed to run more grass-roots campaigns than their city council counterparts.

The biggest spender was Michael Laws, who topped the Dunstan electorate, at $7926.34.

Chairwoman Marian Hobbs, who gained the most votes of the Dunedin candidates, spent $4247.70. However, her costs were lowered by campaigning with Labour Dunedin City Council candidate Steve Walker.

Former deputy chairwoman Gretchen Robertson, the front-runner for chairwoman this year, was among the lowest spenders with $287.50.

The returns of councillors Hilary Calvert and Kevin Malcolm were not available yesterday.



(No donations unless otherwise noted.)



Aaron Hawkins: $6871.57 ($1000 donated for design services).


Christine Garey: $54,641.56 ($54,641.56 donated by Garey Family Trust)

Andrew Whiley: $40,341.71 ($13,154.85 donated in total)

Jules Radich: $29,101 ($12,006 donated in print ads by Golden Centre)

Chris Staynes: $23,975.29

Lee Vandervis: $15,799.84

Rachel Elder: $6515.69

David Benson-Pope: $4990.34

Steve Walker: $3934.81

Carmen Houlahan: $3674.38

Marie Laufiso: $3435.78 ($500 donated for design services)

Sophie Barker: $3424.65

Doug Hall: $2940 ($2940 donated by Hall Brothers)

Mike Lord: $2524.95

Jim O’Malley: $0



Sarah Davie-Nitis: $3514.07, Robert Barlin: $3428.29, John Guthrie: $2398.38, Jason Lindsey: $2212.50, Mandy Mayhem-Bullock: $2120, Findlay Campbell: $1417.32, Brian Millar: $1322.50, Peter Mackenzie: $1150, Scout Barbour-Evans: $1062.28 ($3565 in graphic design donated by Myth), Anthony Kenny: $628.12, Hugh Forsyth: $564, Trish McCarthy: $535.90, Callum Steele-MacIntosh: $412.50, Malcolm Moncrief-Spittle: $240.60, John Marrable: $200, Muthiah James: $82, Neville Jemmett: $0.



Marian Hobbs: $4247.70

Michael Deaker: $1843.03

Gretchen Robertson: $287.50

Andrew Noone: $170

Hilary Calvert and Bryan Scott: unavailable.


Michael Laws: $7926.34

Alexa Forbes: $4595.08

Gary Kelliher: $3741.81


Kevin Malcolm: unavailable


Carmen Hope: $7138.26

Kate Wilson: $3201.60


Lloyd McCall: $5470.55, Phillip Hunt: $3889.69, Tony Hunter: $3547.95, Graeme Bell: $3131.14, Richard Bowman: $2023.72, Rob Woodhouse: $1388, Alexander Familton: $1301.50, Matt Kraemer: $919.53, Tim Mepham: $915.90, Andrew Velman: $0.


I like Jim OMalley's spend. People should vote on merit not on the amount of money candidates spend on self-promotion.

Be realistic, most candidates are unknown to the general voting public, especially the first time candidates. You have to promote yourself to gain some public awareness otherwise you've got no chance. This has nothing to do with merit. How does a meritorious candidate get voted in of no one knows who they are?

Jim O'Malley already had the public recognition so didn't need to do anything.

Had to laugh, the only one disputing anything is Lee Vandervis.

What a surprise!







Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter