2023 not quite what mayor wanted

The road was bumpy in 2023 for Dunedin Mayor Jules Radich. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
The road was bumpy in 2023 for Dunedin Mayor Jules Radich. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
For good, or bad, these "newsmakers" were the people making headlines in 2023.

He lost a deputy mayor, faced a code of conduct complaint and had a mixed run advocating for a fit-for-purpose new hospital — 2023 may not quite have delivered what Dunedin Mayor Jules Radich wanted, but it was not dull.

His real test is next year, when the Dunedin City Council’s 2024-34 long-term plan will need to be adopted.

In the meantime, this year delivered interesting moments for the first-term mayor.

The worst of them was a disastrous radio interview in which he minimised a racial slur from a community board chairman after Mr Radich’s council had unequivocally condemned the conduct.

This August interview led to deputy mayor Sophie Barker filing a complaint about his own conduct and then her resignation, deciding to carry on as simply a councillor.

Mr Radich was found to have breached the code of conduct, bringing the council into disrepute.

Through such difficulty, the mayor maintained a cheerful disposition, and Cherry Lucas took over as deputy mayor.

Mr Radich was unable to take most of the council with him in signalling to the community how a zero-carbon plan might best be implemented.

He preferred a low-investment initial track, but the council is to consult the community on a high-investment scenario and present medium investment as the leading alternative.

In March, his push to reinstate a groyne — or a line of poles planked together — at St Clair Beach to hopefully build up sand there seemed to stall.

Through much of this year, the council’s chamber has been decked out in "they save, we pay" messaging, reflecting a council campaign opposing cuts to the design of the city’s new hospital.

It has mostly been successful, as some proposed cuts were reversed.

In November, Mr Radich led a delegation to Dunedin’s sister city in China, Shanghai.