The race for public office is officially under way after
nominations for local body elections closed yesterday.
But the midday nominations deadline did not pass without the
traditional last-minute rush, swelling the number of
candidates standing for councils, community boards and health
boards across the South.
As a result, the fight for the Dunedin mayoralty will be a
nine-horse race, as eight challengers seek to unseat
incumbent Mayor Dave Cull.
Another 39 candidates are vying for 14 Dunedin City Council
seats spread across three city wards. However, one of the 14
is already settled after incumbent councillor Andrew Noone
was yesterday declared elected unopposed in the Waikouaiti
Voters have until October 12 to decide the fate of the rest,
and whether any of the contenders for Dunedin's top job
deserve to unseat Mr Cull, who won by 22,832 votes to 14,453
to oust then-incumbent Peter Chin in 2010.
Mr Cull's election was helped by a wave of discontent over
Forsyth Barr Stadium and council debt, but it remains to be
seen whether the current crop of big issues facing the city
will energise voters to the same degree.
Mr Cull's rivals this time are Cr Lee Vandervis, former Act
New Zealand MP Hilary Calvert, Green Party candidate Aaron
Hawkins, Olivier Lequeux, Kevin Dwyer, Andrew Whiley, Pete
George and Steve McGregor.
One certainty this year is the influx of new blood around the
Dunedin City Council table, as long-serving incumbent
councillors Syd Brown, Neil Collins, Colin Weatherall, Bill
Acklin and Fliss Butcher have opted to stand down.
Contenders range from former councillor and Dunedin South MP
David Benson-Pope to Otago University Students' Association
president Francisco Hernandez.
The Otago Regional Council election will have 21 incumbent
and new candidates spread across four constituencies.
Among them, the fight for Dunstan is shaping as the hottest
contest, with seven candidates - including the only incumbent
to stand again, Gerry Eckhoff - seeking three available
Elections will also be held in the Dunedin constituency,
where four newcomers will challenge six incumbents for the
six seats, and the Molyneux constituency, where three
candidates seek two seats.
Another 21 contenders will contest seven seats on the
Southern District Health Board, spread between the Otago
(four seats) and Southland (three seats) constituencies.
Contenders include Richard Thomson, also an incumbent city
councillor seeking re-election, who is one of five health
board incumbents standing again.
Mayoral contests are also shaping up across the South,
including in the Waitaki district, where two-term Mayor Alex
Familton has decided not to contest the position he has held
That leaves the door open for challengers Fliss Butcher - an
outgoing DCC councillor - Waitaki deputy mayor Jim Hopkins
and Gary Kircher, Greg Smith, Eric Spittal, Helen Stead and
In Central Otago, Mayor Tony Lepper will be challenged by
former Central Otago district councillor and business
co-owner Lynley Claridge, while Queenstown Mayor Vanessa van
Uden will face long-time Wakatipu resident Al Angus.
In the Clutha district, deputy mayor Hamish Anderson will
challenge incumbent Bryan Cadogan for the mayoralty, but Gore
Mayor Tracy Hicks is elected unopposed. Invercargill Mayor
Tim Shadbolt faces two challengers to his bid to lead the
city for a seventh term and become the country's
Former police officer Lindsay Dow (65), an Invercargill city
councillor for six years from 1993 to 1998, and unemployed
printer Kevin Middleton (54), who has lived in the city for
about seven years, are both challenging Mr Shadbolt.
Dunedin's mayoral race will also be bigger than in 2010, with
the number of candidates up by two, from seven to nine, while
the 39 candidates seeking council seats represent a drop from
the 47 who stood in 2010.
The city's congested central ward has 35 of the 39 candidates
seeking council seats in Dunedin, including Paul Hudson, the
only incumbent councillor not to announce his plans in
Three contenders - including incumbent councillor Kate Wilson
- will vie for two seats in the Mosgiel Taieri ward, while Cr
Noone is the only candidate to be nominated for the
single-seat Waikouaiti Coast-Chalmers ward.
The Chalmers Community Board has 12 candidates, including
five incumbents, chasing six positions.
Three other boards - Mosgiel Taieri, Strath Taieri and
Waikouaiti Coast - have been elected unopposed, with just six
candidates for six seats in each.
Elections will be held in the remaining two - Otago Peninsula
and Saddle Hill - with seven candidates seeking six seats.
Postal voting begins on September 20 and ends at noon on