Fourth farmer for council

Returning councillor Kate Wilson and newcomer Mike Lord, who will be the Mosgiel-Taieri ward...
Returning councillor Kate Wilson and newcomer Mike Lord, who will be the Mosgiel-Taieri ward councillors on the Dunedin City Council next term, celebrate after hearing the good news on Saturday night. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Mosgiel-Taieri's newest representative on the Dunedin City Council had just come inside from feeding calves when he heard the news.

Berwick dairy farmer Mike Lord said there was a degree of relief about being elected as one of two ward councillors for the council, alongside incumbent Cr Kate Wilson, of Middlemarch.

Just over 6000 votes were counted in the Mosgiel Taieri ward. Cr Wilson received 2373 votes and Mr Lord 2067.

The third challenger for the two seats in the ward, Martin Dillon, received 1654 votes. Mr Dillon has been elected unopposed to the Mosgiel-Taieri community board.

Mr Lord said it had been a good race, with all three challengers well-known and with close links in the community.

Speaking from his tractor seat on Sunday, Mr Lord said he had no real hard-and-fast agenda on entering the council, ''in the sense I went on with a fairly open mind''.

One of the first jobs was to choose a new chief executive for the council and one who was ready to give more of the same as the departing Paul Orders.

''I think there was a culture of just taking it a wee bit easy and I think Paul has largely fixed that, so the hard work has been done and it's tweaking that's required now, not massive turnarounds.''

Keeping rates low and reducing debt, hopefully without a loss of service, were important to him.

As the latest member elected on the Greater Dunedin ticket, he had made it clear he was going to make his own decisions based on evidence, his own opinion and advice he took from the community, he said.

''I care intimately about the environment, for example, but I don't think we are going to save the planet from Dunedin by riding bikes to work.''

When he reached an opinion on a matter, after considering available evidence and advice, he would be clear about it.

On fluoride, for example, he would side with the medical view.

While it was not clear yet who would be the ward councillor on the Mosgiel-Taieri community board, he was looking forward to representing the Mosgiel area on the council.

''If you make good decisions they should benefit all members of the community, but there are specific things, like the Mosgiel pool, Mosgiel roading or Mosgiel drainage, that Mosgiel people have slightly different views on. Whatever particular project I'm working on, I'll absolutely be trying to make the best decisions all of the time.''

He paid tribute to former long-serving Mosgiel-Taieri councillor Syd Brown, who retired before the election.

''I think Syd was great for Mosgiel. If I can do as good a job as him, I'll be happy.''

Mr Lord's election makes him the fourth farmer on the council, along with Crs Wilson and Andrew Noone, and new councillor Doug Hall.

Cr Wilson said she was ''thrilled and delighted'' to be back on the council. She was looking forward to making progress on some of the roading issues around the Mosgiel area, starting with meetings.

''I'm sure I'm not going to find a solution that will make everyone happy, but we may at least make some progress on having a discussion.''

She was also looking forward to being involved in more discussions on the pool and working on re-use of the Wingatui tunnel.

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