'People said I'd never get in, but I knew that wasn't right'

New Dunedin city councillor Doug Hall has had people running his contracting businesses for three...
New Dunedin city councillor Doug Hall has had people running his contracting businesses for three years and focuses these days mainly on his 200ha farm in Northeast Valley, leaving him time to focus on council business. Photo by Craig Baxter.
The election of Doug Hall to a council seat may well be one of the biggest surprises of the Dunedin City Council election, but the man in the middle of his own expensive and messy conflict with the organisation says his election came as no surprise to him.

''I heard people said I'd never get in, but I knew that wasn't right. I've got a bigger presence in the city now and the feedback I got during the campaign was all positive, so ...''

This was the sixth time since 1986 he had run for council, having only narrowly missed out on a seat twice before, he said.

His profile was probably raised this time by the very public controversy, involving the council, over a road realignment near his property, he said.

However, he believed his increased profile in the business community since he last ran, in 2001, was more of a factor.

''All the business people in the city are by me.''

His priority at the council table was going to be honesty, and the first thing on his agenda as a councillor was ''getting the truth out there'' about ''where all the money goes''.

He was not sure exactly how he was going to achieve that until he had had a bit of time on the council to understand how it worked.

The change around the council table, with seven new councillors on board, was good and he believed he could work with the people elected.

''I can work with anybody if they tell the truth.''

There were discussions and debates in which he would be unable to take part because he would have to declare conflicts of interest around his legal challenge with the council and his multiple business interests in the city, but ''that's life''.

He was not going to go in all guns blazing and be outspoken, he said.

''I'll be a wee while getting used to how it works. I'll just be me. I'll just take as it comes.''

-debbie.porteous@odt.co.nz

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