Several months ago someone whose name I’ve forgotten and of whom I’ve heard nothing since, announced he was going to stand for Mayor of Waitaki.
A few weeks ago the incumbent, Alec Familton, announced he was seeking re-election.
Now there’s another contender – deputy mayor Gary Kircher has used his blog to announce he plans to seek the mayoralty too.
I might have said it’s difficult for a sitting councillor to defeat a sitting mayor because both could be judged on what the council has – or hasn’t – done.
But three years ago Alec, who was a sitting councillor, defeated then-Mayor Alan McLay.
Then there were big issues, including controversy over the Opera House development and steep rates rises.
It’s been much quieter on the local body front in the past three years which will make it more difficult to mount a challenge.
However, the race has just begun and if a week is a long time in politics, anything might happen in the four months between now and the election.
Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule has been elected president of Local Government New Zealand.
Wellington mayor Kerry Prendergast, who contested the presidency too, is the new deputy.
Bob Harvey, Waitakere mayor had earlier criticised local bodies supporting Yule’s nomination:
“It’s a brainless stand as the largest urban authority in New Zealand to not think through what the job entails and I’m surprised and amazed at their decision. Local government will be in serious trouble if they don’t come to their sense and realise that the job is beyond the mayor of a small rural district.”
Obviously enough of those who voted realise that size doesn’t matter and a president with an understanding of provincial issues and a deputy who knows about urban issues should ensure the views of all local authorities are understood and represented.
Update: I stand to be corrected on this but I think Yule was electorate chair for Michael Laws when he (Laws) was a National MP. The skills he’d need for that job will be very useful in his new role 🙂