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Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull has staged an intervention in a crucial election, throwing his weight behind a plucky local candidate.
Mr Cull shared a video on social media yesterday for the 14th annual bird of the year vote, throwing his weight behind the yellow-eyed penguin/hoiho, which he called ''Aotearoa's socially awkward hero of the land and sea''.
''Around New Zealand election preparation is in full swing with prospective candidates fluffing their feathers in anticipation.
''You have the choice in this election to vote for the candidate whose values align with yours.
''You have the choice to do what is good and what is right.
''That is why I encourage you you to vote for the yellow-eyed penguin, or hoiho.''
Aside from it being the best looking, no bird better epitomised the New Zealand way of life, with its family focus, love of fishing and propensity to hide from its neighbours, Mr Cull contended.
Voting hoiho would also help raise awareness about the bird's precarious plight. It was slipping to extinction in the South Island and little was known about its populations on the subantarctic Campbell and Auckland Islands.
''It is up to us as voters to knock these flappy forest birds out of contention and rightly appoint a sea bird as the country's reigning feathered monarch.''
Voting for bird of the year opens at 9am on Monday October 28 and closes at 5pm on Sunday November 10.