It's time for someone else: Cull tells media

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull says the time is right to hang up the robe and chains.

Mr Cull fronted media this afternoon to explain his decision to stand down at local body elections in October, after one term as a city councillor and three as Dunedin's mayor, the last of those while also Local Government New Zealand president.

It was a move he first confirmed to the Otago Daily Times earlier this week, when he said his age, he will be 70 next year, and desire to spend more time with his family were paramount.

Mr Cull said the mayoral role required "a lot of energy'', and, while he still had the motivation and was enjoying the job now, he could not guarantee he would in the years to come.

He was proud of his time leading the council which had established "a good platform'' for growth and development in Dunedin.

But the city also faced "major challenges'' ahead, from growth, the need to invest in new infrastructure to accommodate that growth, and other major development projects.

And, looming over it all, was the impact, economically, socially and environmentally, of climate change, he said.

Mr Cull believed it was time for someone else, with new energy, to take on those challenges, which were not insurmountable.

He was confident the city, like the country, would meet its goals of becoming net carbon neutral, helped by the rise of electric vehicles.

But the impact of rising sea levels on South Dunedin would be "tricky'' as the effects manifest themselves slowly over time, he said.

The community would need to be well informed about the issues, and the options, but retreat from some parts of the suburb would be necessary, he predicted.

How soon, and how extensively, that change would arrive was "part of what we don't know'', he said.

Another unknown, to Mr Cull at least, was the extent of any criticism aimed at him and the council on social media, including some vitriolic comments following this week's announcement he planned to stand down.

Mr Cull said he did not "do social media'', and was happy to ignore other anonymous comments and "perennially critical'' correspondents.

Instead, he relied on other measures, such as the council's annual plan consultation, as well as the major test "once every three years''.

One frustration that did rankle was criticism "made on the basis of completely mistaken facts'', which could come from inside council as well as from outside it, he said.

"It's this kind of fake news that people promote, that's very frustrating.''

Another frustration, despite the success of Forsyth Barr Stadium was the lingering impact of its financing on the council's books and those of its companies, he said.

Soon after taking office, he, like the rest of the council, had been told $23 million of dividends from the companies to the council was sustainable and would help pay for the new venue.

Those dividends had since shrunk to zero, raising questions about the original assurances.

But, overall, Mr Cull believed those frustrations were in the past.

"I don't tend to look back, much, and I don't tend to hold grudges,'' he said.

chris.morris@odt.co.nz

Comments

Bye Dave it can't come soon enough,thanks for the huge debt and nothing else.

 

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