Hilary Calvert has joined the race for the Dunedin
mayoralty, saying she hopes to cash in on disillusionment with
Dave Cull's performance in his first term.
The former Act New Zealand MP yesterday confirmed she would
compete for the mayoralty and a city council seat in local
body elections in October, after first indicating in May she
was considering a campaign.
Her move came as nominations for local body elections open
today, giving candidates one month - until noon on August 16
- to put their names forward for a variety of public bodies.
Ms Calvert said she wanted to push for tighter limits on
rates increases and a more hands-on approach to guiding
council companies, although she could not yet say how.
''The council needs around the table some people looking
after your money . . . not just people who are good at
spending your money,'' she said.
Ms Calvert said she had been encouraged to consider a
grouping of like-minded candidates, but in the end had opted
for an independent campaign over ''party politics''.
She was open to offers of financial support, and hoped to
''twist somebody's arm'' to help, but said her campaign would
not be backed by Act. In fact, she was not sure if she
remained a party member.
''I don't think I am since June. I haven't renewed it
[membership] recently, but it's not from any disapproval of
their ideas of anything.
''This isn't a party thing.''
Ms Calvert hit the headlines in 2010 when she replaced former
Act MP David Garrett, who quit in disgrace following
revelations he once stole the identity of a dead baby to
obtain a false passport.
She left Parliament 14 months later.
Ms Calvert, in a series of opinion pieces, has since taken
the council to task for perceived financial missteps.
Her candidacy would add to a mayoral campaign already pitting
Mr Cull against rivals Cr Lee Vandervis, Green Party
candidate Aaron Hawkins and independents Olivier Lequeux and
In October's elections, Otago candidates will contest seats
on the Dunedin City Council, the Otago Regional Council and
other councils and community boards, and the Southern
District Health Board.
Papers for the postal vote would be sent out from September
20, when the voting period officially commenced, and
culminate on election day, October 12, when polls closed at