Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull celebrates his re-election with
Greater Dunedin councillors (from left) Jinty MacTavish,
Kate Wilson and Chris Staynes. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Newcomers to the Dunedin City Council table say the
people of Dunedin have picked a diverse bunch, but they expect
to be able to work together despite philosophical differences.
Seven new faces will join incumbents Crs Chris Staynes,
Richard Thomson, John Bezett, Jinty MacTavish, Kate Wilson,
Lee Vandervis and Andrew Noone on a new-look council.
David Benson-Pope is pleased to be returning to the table
after leaving the city council to become the MP for Dunedin
South in 1999.
Having kept a relatively low profile since he resigned from
Parliament under a cloud in 2008, he said he was drawn back
to public life because he could not stop being interested in
public decisions that affected people.
''I've found it a frustrating few years watching what's
happened nationally, but also locally, where really good
schemes have been dumped and reinvented for purely trivial
He had been doing some resource management work for the
council, but he was more interested in ''the policy stuff
about the direction the city takes''.
Things like the potential outsourcing of the council's water
maintenance work, for example, made him feel uneasy, he said.
There seemed to be wide agreement around what needed doing
around employment and marketing the city, so his first drive
on council would be to achieve something simple - the
physical clean-up of the Octagon and George St, a pledge he
found particularly resonated with his voters.
''Let's get the city looking good so we've got something that
we can be really proud of and start marketing. It's simple
low or no-cost stuff.''
He will be joined on council by the most preferred candidate
on first preferences, unsuccessful mayoral challenger Hilary
Calvert, a former Act New Zealand MP.
Ms Calvert said she was pleased with the result, and felt her
success reflected people's concern about finances and that
they did not feel council was listening to them properly.
The balance on the new council was ''extremely pleasing''.
''I think we've got a good mix of sort of interests and
different philosophies and things. I think it'll be a very
workable council and has huge potential.''
The first thing she wanted to do was ask the business
community what was getting in the way of them employing
another person or getting on with business.
She was particularly interested in the council's property and
how it related to council finances, and wanted to get
involved on that front.
A committee needed to be formed to sort out issues
surrounding the road realignment around fellow new councillor
Doug Hall's properties, a situation that was an example of
the poor relationships the council had in that area.
''I think there's a lot of property things that need to be
Golf professional Andrew Whiley said he was pleasantly
surprised to be elected, after a disappointingly low voter
After missing out on a seat in 2010 he had not counted his
chickens, despite positive feedback.
The first thing he would raise as a councillor was concerns
about the potential outsourcing of water maintenance jobs.
''I stood on a policy of maintaining jobs and growing
Dunedin, and I'm really concerned about that.''
He was also worried about having a ''left-leaning, green
council'', and wanted to ensure all business was welcome in
''I think it's going to be a very interesting council. We do
have some common goals, we just have some very different
ideas. If you look around the table and see how diverse
everybody is, I think there are going to be some pretty good
Taieri farmer Mike Lord joins the group as a self-described
''new boy on the block'' representing the Mosgiel-Taieri
ward, following a successful first tilt at local body
He came in with no hard and fast agenda, but was interested
in making it easier for people to do business in the city and
employing a new chief executive who could deliver more of the
same work delivered by outgoing CEO Paul Orders, he said.
The latest elected member on the Greater Dunedin ticket, he
said he had made it ''very clear'' he would make his own
decisions based on evidence, his own opinion and advice he
took from the community.
''The reality is that who the public votes in is a reflection
of our society, and we are not all coming from the same
Former long-term regional councillor Neville Peat was
delighted to win a seat on his first shot at city council.
''I'm looking forward to a new challenge here on city
The seven new faces were a ''real refreshing'' of the
council, and that was needed because there was some ''pretty
important work to do''.
He hoped councillors would firstly receive the lay of the
land from staff, including the impact of debt on spending in
the next three years.
His focus would be on introducing the economic development
strategy, improving city marketing and promotion and
increasing the city's use of renewable energy.
''I think there's enough people on there to carry this stuff
through and do it in a transitional way that's not scary.''
Aaron Hawkins is the first Green Party candidate to be
elected to the city council.
He ran unsuccessfully in 2010 and said the news of his win
was still sinking in yesterday, but it was ''a huge honour''
and he was ''excited about going to work as soon as
Having strong personalities around the council table was good
because it meant robust debate, which was needed to keep
local democracy honest and to reach consensus decisions.
Some of the first tasks to tackle would be getting a
submission in on the petroleum block offer, sorting out the
city's public transport system and choosing a new chief