Some old mayors some new in south


Two southern mayors lost their seats in the local body elections.

Central Otago District elected Tony Lepper, with sitting mayor Malcolm MacPherson coming in third place behind another challenger Jeff Hill.

Clutha District’s new mayor is Bryan Cadogan who beat the incumbent Juno Hayes who was seeking a fifth term.

Queenstown Lakes District has its first female mayor – Vanessa van Uden . Sitting mayor Clive Geddes didn’t seek re-election.

Waitaki District re-elected Alex Familton with a majority of 1183 over the only serious challenger and former Deputy mayor, Gary Kircher.

Invercargill people gave Tim Shadbolt a majority of more than 11,000 over challenger Suzanne Prentice.

Southland mayor Frano Cardno was returned for her seventh term.

Gore mayor Tracy Hicks was not challenged.

Timaru returned sitting mayor Janie Annear for a third term.

Mackenzie District elected Claire Barlow as its new mayor by only 30 votes.

Further north I’m delighted Christchurch voters returned Bob Parker as mayor – and not just because he defeated Jim Anderton.

Len Brown beat John Banks to be first mayor of the new Auckland council. Voters also delivered a left-leaning council which disproves accusations from the left that uniting Auckland was a right-wing plot.

I think this means Robert Guyton, a regular commenter here, won a seat on the Southland Regional Council. If so, congratulations.

It’s official – Prentice vs Shadbolt for mayoralty


Suzanne Prentice has confirmed the rumours – she is standing for the Invercargill mayoralty.

In a media statement she said:

 “I want to bring a fresh, energetic and focused approach and to afford the position of mayor the dignity which it deserves,” she said.

“I have thought long and hard about standing and keep finding myself concerned for the future of our city, its residents and its ratepayers.

“I want to take Invercargill forward and to lead an inspired, united, and focused council which strives to build a vibrant and prosperous city.”

Ms Prentice said she had been overwhelmed at the tremendous support and encouragement she had received from many concerned residents in regard to her standing.

“I thank every one of them for putting their trust in me and I want them to know that I will take their views forward as I now officially confirm my intention to stand.”

It was now time to focus on the future of the city, she said.

“We have some very experienced councillors with a great deal to offer. Unfortunately the distractions of the past two to three years have, to a certain degree, detracted from the positive work which they have done.

“Given the right leadership and direction, I believe we can build a cohesive team which puts its energy into what is best for Invercargill.

“I also have enormous respect for the employees of the Invercargill City Council, their work continues to be a credit to them all, sometimes in trying circumstances.”

Ms Prentice said she would be honoured to be the mayor of Invercargill

“I consider myself to be a true Southlander – my heart and my home are in this city and my family have had a long and proud association with Invercargill.”

Her father was born in Invercargill and after the war he and his English bride returned and made it their home.

“This was the place where they raised their three children, just as my husband Stephen and I have done with our children, Blair and Andrea, and as our son Blair continues to do with his wife Vanessa.

“We are a true and loyal Invercargill family,” she said, “and I know that I have their support as I embark on this new and important journey.”

Tim Shadbolt is an experienced and wily campaigner. Until now I would have thought the Invercargill mayoralty was his as long as he wanted it.

But the last term has been difficult and if anyone can beat him it would be Suzanne. She is a born and bred Southlander,  is very well known through her career as a singer and her community work and has served an apprenticeship in local body politics on the Invercargill Licensing Trust.

Busted Blonde who know a lot more about Southland than I do, gives her view on the mayoral race here.

Prentice’s announcement is the first official indication of any challenge to incumbent mayors in the south.

However, that may change.

The stadium has been very controversial in Dunedin and that may persuade someone to challenge sitting mayor Peter Chin. However, a would-be mayor has to do more than stand against something, s/he needs to stand for something too.

Concerns over the Otago Regional Council have been nowhere near as serious as those afflicting Environment Canterbury, but there may be enough dissatisfaction to drive a campaign against the chair and some sitting councillors.

Waitaki mayor Alex Familton has yet to announce his intentions but if I was a betting woman I’d put a little money on him standing again.

The grapevine has mentioned deputy mayor Gary Kircher and sitting councillor Jim Hopkins as possible contenders for the mayoralty, but is less sure about whether they would challenge Alex if he stands again.

Suzanne Prentice vs Tim Shadbolt?


A friend’s email yesterday inlcuded an attachment saying Suzanne Prentice would be holding a media conference about the local body elections on Monday morning.

I added two and two and came up with a number indicating this meant she’d be challenging Tim Shadbolt in the election for Invercargill’s mayor.

I was tempted to blog about that but held back because I thought it would be unfair to the friend. However, the Southland Times had no such scruples and has a story saying Prentice is set to challenge Shadbolt.

The paper is running a poll which has 108 of 226 votes saying she has a strong chance and only 45 votes giving her no chance.

Prentice to challenge Shadbolt?


Tim Shadbolt has cemented himself so firmly into the role of Invercargill’s mayor it’s looked like the position would be his as long as he wanted it.

But ructions in council, culminating in his unsuccessful bid to pass a vote of no confidence in his deputy Neil Boniface, have loosened his hold on the mayoral chains.

The grapevine is beginning to ask if he’s had his time and Invercargill born and raised singer Suzanne Prentice, who is on the city’s Licensing Trust,  may be a strong challenger.

The Invercargill-based entertainer attended a council meeting this week as a “concerned ratepayer”, and watched Mr Shadbolt fail in his bid to oust long-serving deputy mayor Neil Boniface.

Asked how she felt after the meeting, Ms Prentice said she was still concerned and was seriously considering standing for the mayoralty.

“I am doing my homework.”

She hoped to make a decision early next year.

Tim Shadbolt has done a lot for the city and he’s certainly improved its profile. But criticism of him is growing.

Southern Squall has been covering the issue and ran a poll asking if recent events had changed people’s support for Shadbolt.

It’s unscientific but attracted 347 respondents which is  a good number for a blog poll.

However, the significance isn’t so much in the results but that the question was asked at all. Until recently, criticism of the mayor was muted and there was no real sign of a serious challenger.

Now there’s both and if there’s a challenger with a good chance of unseating him, it could be Prentice.

P.S. The ODT’s editorial covers Shadbolt’s showdown.

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