What went wrong? ... Keith Rhoades and his entourage take in the bad figures on Saturday night.
What went wrong? ... Keith Rhoades and his entourage take in the bad figures on Saturday night.

Mayor blames his loss on the foreshore issue

By CRAIG McTEAR

THE one birthday gift Trish Rhoades longed for yesterday ? her husband, Keith, winning Coffs Harbour ? never arrived.

Cr Rhoades, the Coffs Harbour mayor and Independent candidate, said he thought he would have performed better than what he did in Saturday's contest.

He was surprised at how well Andrew Fraser had done, 'because the feedback was indicating more of a swinging seat than a safe seat'.

Cr Rhoades said the 'number one' factor in his loss was the 'absolutely deplorable campaign by the Nationals over the Jetty Foreshores issues'.

"It was nothing but lies from the Nationals candidate about the issues. It was a fear campaign ? scare, fear and lies.

"I'm a straight shooter. I don't play the person, I play the issues.

"I'm a stickler for democracy. A decision has been made by the community, I respect that decision, and we move forward.

"It's so harder with politics at a State level not changing. To get things done in Coffs Harbour, we can't operate without government funding."

When asked if he and the city council could work with Mr Fraser, Cr Rhoades said: "He has not co-operated with council for the past nine years. I can't see it changing. I'd like it to, but I can't see it happening."

When told Mr Fraser had outpolled him at Sawtell and Toormina, where Cr Rhoades lives, the mayor said: "I represent a whole city, not just a section."

Cr Rhoades thought he'd have a close tussle with Labor candidate David Kennedy, but industrial relations had 'played a part with a lot of people, especially public servants'.

He also said he'd had indications of strong support from people 18 to 24.

Will Cr Rhoades have a tilt at the next State election?

"Let's get a few days' sleep first," he said.



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