Waitaki mayor Alex Familton’s decision to not seek re-election after earlier saying he would seek a thrid term.
This has opened up the District’s mayoral race.
Until now only one serious contender, former deputy mayor Gary Kircher, had announced he would contest the mayoralty.
But now the sitting mayor is standing down people who weren’t prepared to challenge him, including the current deputy, Jim Hopkins might stand.
Alex was a farmer and the council is losing another rural voice.
Corriedale ward councillor Kevin Malcolm has also announced he’s not standing again.
Our ward has two councillors but the other one, Geoff Keeling stood down earlier this year, and the council opted not to replace him.
It had the right to do that given the proximity of elections but it has left the council one rural voice short.
Property based rates impose much higher costs on farms.
We pay a greater proportion of rates but there are fewer of us which makes it even more important to have strong rural voices on councils.
But Keeling’s resignation and Malcolm’s decision not to seek re-election were both largely due to the difficulty of balancing council commitments with work and family.
Those pressures will be on the minds of others who might seek to stand and no-one could blame them if that puts them off.