Incumbent Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan has confirmed he is standing again six months out from local body elections.

In a statement Mr Cadogan said it was five-and-a-half years since he was first granted the privilege by the people of Central Otago, making it “a good staging post to look back from”.

He then outlined his commitment.

“When I first ran for mayor, I promised two things.

“That I would work hard and that I would bring the community and council together.

“I believe I have achieved both of those goals.”

He said he had tried very hard to be available to everyone in Central Otago, no matter who they were, where they were, where they came from or what they did.

“My coffee and chats have allowed me to meet and help hundreds of Central Otago people from Millers Flat to Tarras, Ranfurly to Bannockburn.

“My Facebook Live sessions get several hundred views a week.”

He spoke on two local radio stations every week and contributed one weekly, one fortnightly and two monthly columns to local written media outlets.

“I continually look for new ways to engage with the people I serve.”

When he became mayor, the community was disengaged, Mr Cadogan said.

“The LTP [long-term plan] prior to the 2016 election saw just over 200 people submit.

“My first LTP had around 450 people submit and in 2021 a staggering 852 people let us know what they thought.”

That was around one in every 29 people, Mr Cadogan.

“I am proud to say we are now consistently in the top five councils in the country for our engagement rates, which is really important to me because we as elected members can’t do our jobs if we don’t know what the community thinks.”

The job had not been an easy times, with the last term in particular being challenging, he said.

“The Covid-19 pandemic threw everything into a tailspin.

“The future we had worked so hard to plan for seemed gone, with dire predictions regarding our economic situation as a country and a district.”

Two years later a labour shortage was one of the biggest issues faced, despite warnings of 14% unemployment locally.

Gratefully, the predictions of the effects of the pandemic on the physical health of our community were way off as well.

“Although we are in the middle of the omicron wave, the predicted high death rate at the start of the pandemic gratefully looks to have been averted.”

Leading the community through the pandemic had been one of the greatest challenges and privileges of my life, he said.

Central Otago had gone through a lot of other changes in the time he had been mayor.

“For one thing, there are four and a half thousand more of us living in Central now than there was when I started; that’s around a 25% growth rate over those few years.”

At the local government level, huge change was happening.

Three Waters, resource management and the future for local government reforms were coming whether we liked it or not.

“Councils had never faced such a wave of reform and experience is needed to make sure we ride that wave as best we can, rather than have it break over us.”