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Long-time Otago Regional Council chairman Stephen Woodhead has made the shock announcement he will leave the council at the end of this term.
The three-term chairman and 15-year regional councillor had previously indicated he was likely to stand again in the next election.
However, in a statement released this afternoon he said he reflected on what was best for his family, his health and the council, and decided not to seek re-election.
"As a leader, whether it is for a club or the regional council, I believe that you should do your bit and move on at the appropriate time, so I’m following my own advice with this decision.
"It has been a privilege to represent the people of Otago and work alongside so many dedicated councillors and staff over the last 15 years."
The council has made "big strides" towards confronting challenges faced by the Otago region and he was confident the organisation was in good hands and on the right trajectory.
"There will be a number of new councillors in the next triennium; I am pleased to see some experienced governors putting their names forward for election across the region, and I wish the next council all the best."