Bankrupt Lequeux bidding for mayoralty again

Olivier Lequeux
Olivier Lequeux
Bankrupt businessman Olivier Lequeux wants to swap the horse stables for the mayor's office.

Mr Lequeux yesterday added his name to the list of candidates preparing to challenge Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull.

He told the Otago Daily Times he was working as a stable hand at Forbury Park, shovelling horse manure, after completing an earlier community work sentence there for his third drink-driving conviction.

And, despite previous failed mayoral bids and being declared bankrupt last year, Mr Lequeux insisted he remained ''a leader at heart''.

''What is leadership? Leadership is a cheerleader. I don't think I would be any worse than the current mayor.

''Despite the fact I'm bankrupt, I'm about to be discharged. I know everything about bankruptcy and I think our city needs someone who understands how it is to take other people at ransom.''

Mr Lequeux will join Cr Lee Vandervis and a yet-to-be-named Green Party candidate, rumoured to be student radio broadcaster Aaron Hawkins, in challenging Mr Cull for the job in October.

Former Act New Zealand party list MP Hilary Calvert was also considering a mayoral or council bid, and a group promoted by Queenstown businessman and philanthropist Sir Eion Edgar may also stand candidates.

For Mr Lequeux, a French-born New Zealander, it would be the third tilt at high office after unsuccessful mayoral campaigns in 2007 and 2010.

He mortgaged his house to raise $50,000 for the first, but in 2010 spent just $1009 on his second failed bid.

Mr Lequeux said he would be ''shoestringing'' his latest campaign and did not expect to win, but hoped to remind people ''why Dunedin is so special''.

In January, he appeared in the Dunedin District Court and pleaded guilty to a charge of driving with a blood-alcohol level of 92mg in Cumberland St on September 17 last year.

He was convicted, sentenced to 175 hours' community work and disqualified from driving for 13 months, with an order under the Land Transport Act to apply for a zero-alcohol licence.

The previous month, the Dunedin bar owner had also been declared bankrupt in the High Court at Dunedin, over an unpaid debt to Wests NZ Ltd, and had since ''sold everything''.

Yesterday, Mr Lequeux said he had ''paid his dues'' and, although he still owed about $36,000, he expected to repay the money soon and then be discharged.

''I will have money. I will have sponsors to do that.''

- chris.morris@odt.co.nz

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