Chasing the chain


Come this October, Christchurch will vote in a new mayor. Metropol editor Lynda Papesch catches up with sitting councillor Phil Mauger, about his tilt at the mayoralty.

A keen desire to improve how ratepayers perceive the Christchurch City Council, and also to bring about innovative change are two of
the motives driving local businessman Phil Mauger to contest the mayoralty.

He’s also doing it in memory of his late father Warner, who passed away at the end of 2020. Warner encouraged Phil to initially stand for council, and before he died, he also suggested Phil “having a crack at the mayoralty”. So he is.

No stranger to council – he’s served one term as the elected representative for Burwood – Phil describes himself as a ‘successful businessman with strong community ties and a history of supporting community organisations’.

Prior to becoming a councillor, he led Maugers Contracting, a third-generation company specialising in building subdivisions, roads, sewers, drains, and water mains since 1970.

Now resigned from the company to focus on his mayoral campaign, he’s a proud family man, married to Chrissy and currently calling Avonhead home. Between them they have five children and eight grandchildren.

His background in business is good grounding for the mayoral role, he says, a role which includes being a facilitator and enabler, and ensuring all councillors have their say.

“I have learnt a lot in my first term as a councillor. One of my strengths is my ability to work collaboratively with people from all sides of the political spectrum.”
Looking ahead, Phil believes it is time to “shake the tree and challenge the status quo”, something he has already proven that he’s happy to do.

During his first year on council, Phil came under the spotlight for digging a trench in Pages Road to solve a decade-long flooding problem. He was fined for doing the trench work without a resource consent, but was celebrated in the Burwood community for ‘getting stuff done’. He’s now focused on getting more stuff done for the community.

“We have the message, loudly and clearly, from residents, that we need to get the basics right as well as continue to make Christchurch the best place to work,
live and play,” he says. “The council must adopt a can-do attitude focused on finding solutions to the hold ups and getting the ball rolling.

“We must be open to innovative thinking and trying new things – I can do this and I think they are good qualifications for a mayor.”

Standing as an independent, he has already garnered support from people from all walks of life – teachers, nurses, farmers, business people, and mums and dads – “who just want to see stuff get done and don’t want more of the same”.

Spending the rates

A key focus for Phil will be spending and managing council money carefully to keep its debt under control and minimise rate increases.

Fixing roads, footpaths, sewers and water mains are on his hit list. “They are our core business, so they need to be repaired, and be maintained going forward. That is what we all pay our rates for.”

Future-proofing Christchurch (city and district) by recognising the impact of climate change and the changing regulations council will need to meet are also on his agenda. “I support the big investment that will be spent over 10 years for climate change and environmental initiatives and I want to see this huge investment spent wisely.”

“Christchurch is becoming a more inclusive city, with people from many cultures calling Christchurch home – that can only be a good thing. We must continue to work closely with mana whenua and iwi too.”

Future challenges include the impact of inflation, the three-waters reform, and the review of local government, he says.


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From the editor: 26 May 2022

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