Most councillors will stand again

The contestants are emerging before October's local body elections, with most Dunedin city councillors yesterday confirming plans to stand again.

But some long-serving representatives, including Mayor Peter Chin and deputy Syd Brown, are not ready to reveal their hands.

The Otago Daily Times canvassed the city's civic leaders this week to ask if they would be standing again for election on October 9.

The term "unfinished business" and a wish to see through the major projects and policies begun were given as reasons to stand by many councillors.

Crs Kate Wilson, Chris Staynes, Teresa Stevenson, Colin Weatherall, John Bezett, Neil Collins, Fliss Butcher, Andrew Noone, Bill Acklin and Dave Cull all confirmed they would be seeking re-election as councillors, while Paul Hudson, Richard Walls and Michael Guest said they had not yet decided.

Mr Chin said he had not decided whether he would stand for the mayoralty again, and did not expect to decide until June.

Cr Brown said he had not "considered my position yet", and that applied equally to running as a councillor or for the mayoralty.

"I haven't given it much thought, to be honest," he said.

At least one new face could feature, with Chisholm Park Golf Course golf professional Andrew Whiley confirming this week he plans to stand for election as a councillor.

Cr Wilson, confirming she would stand again, said she believed it was important the council continued to regenerate, but it also took time, perhaps a year, to learn the system's ropes.

"I'm very happy to serve as a councillor and I leave it to others to decide whether they want me."

Cr Staynes said the answer was obvious: "Definitely, I will be.

"I think I have brought some new blood to the council . . . and who knows what happens after the election."

Cr Stevenson said she would be running again "because I believe I have a role in communicating with the public what's going on and ensuring the public's voice is heard by the council".

However, Cr Stevenson - a previous, unsuccessful, mayoral candidate - said it was unlikely she would challenge for the top job again unless requested by the community.

Cr Guest said he would "probably" stand for election again as a councillor, but he would not be making a final decision until at least June: "I don't like thinking about it until June or July."

Cr Walls also said he believed it was "too early yet" to announce election ambitions, believing the focus should be on the continuing 2010-11 annual plan process.

"It's a call, if you make it now while the annual plan process is on, [that] simply distracts from the business at hand."

Cr Walls, a former Dunedin mayor, would confirm his intentions "after it's all over", but would "definitely not" be running for mayor.

Cr Butcher said she would run again, "despite all the negativity".

"I'm enjoying the work.

"Things I started five or six years ago, like the social housing strategy, are finally coming to fruition."

Cr Weatherall said it was "very likely" he would run.

He had spent a lot of time in the resource consent area, and wanted to continue that work.

Cr Bezett said he thought he would be running again for what was "a challenging job", while Cr Collins had not made a final decision, but was "leaning towards standing".

"There's just a little unfinished business to see through."

Cr Noone said he would be running again as a councillor, also mentioning unfinished business.

Cr Cull said he was "definitely" standing again, as: "I think there's a lot to do to get this city on track".

He had not yet decided whether to run for mayor.

Cr Acklin was also standing again, as "I want to follow through with decisions I've been part of making for the last five or six years".

Cr Hudson said he expected to make a decision "within about the next 10 days".

Mr Whiley contacted the ODT this week to confirm he would definitely be running for a place on the council, after indicating late last year he was "seriously considering" standing.


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