The region’s elected representatives are weighing up their political futures as October’s local body elections inch closer.
Central Otago deputy mayor Neil Gillespie said he intended to stand again for the Central Otago District Council. It would be his ninth term if re-elected.
Mr Gillespie said despite the challenges, he still had the same passion which drew him to local government 24 years ago.
“We are being challenged by the speed of growth .. within the district and its surrounds.
“That growth has a cost that current and future residents have to meet and combined with the ever-increasing costs of maintaining the current levels of service will need us all to work together to ensure costs are as manageable as they can be.”
Longstanding Central Otago district councillor Martin McPherson had been an elected representative since 1995, taking a council seat in 2001.
He signalled the review into the future for local government, announced in April last year, as part of his decision to stand again in October.
“It looks to be the last term of the Central Otago District Council as we know it and, being a bit of an old hand, I would like to be there and help the community go through these changes that are being foisted upon us.”
Also throwing their hats in the ring again were councillors Stu Duncan and Tamah Alley.
Representing the Maniototo, Mr Duncan said that he wanted to give a voice to those in rural communities.
First-time councillor Ms Alley found the role “incredibly interesting, challenging and rewarding.”
“There are many exciting opportunities and challenges ahead for our region that I would love to remain engaged with,” she said.
District councillors Stephen Jeffrey, Nigel McKinlay, and Ian Cooney have yet to decide their intentions but after serving three terms representing Cromwell, Shirley Calvert said it was time for her to step aside.
“It is time for someone else to take up the task and bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm to the debating table.”
Cromwell Community Board chairwoman Anna Harrison hoped to be elected for a third term so she could see some of Cromwell’s major infrastructure upgrades through to the next stage.
“Making sure that we have housing and infrastructure to meet the needs of a growing population and the role of the community board in this are key considerations.”
Through the gorge, Vincent Community Board deputy chairman Russell Garbutt was undecided on his local government future.
“I have not made a definitive decision but much will depend on whether the balance between personal cost and what I can achieve can be reconciled,” Mr Garbutt said.
Stepping aside in October were Teviot Valley Community Board member Cushla Browning and Vincent Community Board member Anna Robinson, due to other commitments.
See next week’s edition of The News for more elected representatives and their plans for the future.