Garey tipped as deputy

Christine Garey
Christine Garey
Dunedin city councillor Christine Garey is saying little as others pick her as the frontrunner to become deputy mayor.

But it seems Dunedin's highest-polling councillor, Lee Vandervis, could find himself on the outer for the role, after mayor-elect Aaron Hawkins said he wanted someone who shared "the same values and aspirations''.

That did not rule out many people, but it did rule out some, he told the Otago Daily Times, without elaborating.

Cr Garey was reluctant to comment on her own mayoral campaign, or her aspirations for roles, when contacted yesterday.

She said she was pleased with Mr Hawkins' victory in the mayoral race, but insisted her own result - securing fourth place with 7417 votes after vowing she was in the race to win - was "neither here nor there''.

"The main thing is the outcome, which is that the city is in safe hands.

"It's bigger than my aspirations - much bigger than my aspirations - and I'm delighted we've got a mayor who is progressive and will take the city forward and build on what we have, and is very cognisant of the challenges.''

Asked if she wanted to be deputy mayor, Cr Garey said she would not be discussing that "through the media''.

"That's not for me to speculate. That's for me to have a conversation with the mayor.''

However, fellow mayoral candidates and incumbent councillors Andrew Whiley and Jim O'Malley both picked Cr Garey when asked who was the frontrunner to secure the deputy mayor role.

"I wouldn't be surprised if that happens pretty soon,'' Cr Whiley said.

"It's almost definitely going to be Christine Garey,'' Cr O'Malley added.

Cr Whiley was philosophical about his own chances of securing a senior role under Mr Hawkins, despite coming third in the race for both the mayoralty (with 10,158 votes) and a council seat (3250 votes).

He was pleased with his campaign "traction'' and the results, but "I've learnt a long time ago the discussion will take place and it will be what it will be''.

"I know Aaron and I aren't mates. We're collegial. It will be up to him and his advisers ... to work out how they want to basically map out council.''

Despite that, Cr Whiley said he was looking forward to working with Mr Hawkins.

"He's been a good councillor ... [now] he is the mayor, and as a councillor you do need to support the mayor at times.

"But I think Aaron also needs to make sure he works with all his councillors,'' Cr Whiley said.

The city had big challenges ahead, including a housing "crisis'', climate change impacts and what Cr Whiley believed was a misguided and costly push to become carbon-neutral by 2030.

"I think when the realities of what it's going to cost the city [are clear] ... there are going to be some serious concerns.''

Cr O'Malley said he expected the majority vote around the council table to favour the status quo, but there were big infrastructure and budget issues to tackle.

And, despite some heated barbs between Cr O'Malley and Mr Hawkins during the campaign, Cr O'Malley said he would like to step up to the role of infrastructure committee chairman this term, after serving as its deputy last term.

"That would depend on how much support I get from the mayor to pursue those opportunities.

Mr Hawkins was meeting councillors this week to discuss their ambitions for roles, and his meeting with Cr O'Malley is scheduled for this morning.

"No-one knows what's in the new mayor's head except for him.

"Once he's done what he's going to do, that will tell us the tenor of the new council.''


"after mayor-elect Aaron Hawkins said he wanted someone who shared "the same values and aspirations", namely disregard the majority of voters who voted for Vandervis (hawkins was only second or third choice), disrupt business in the main street, do away with ever more car parks forcing the elderly and infirm to cycle or to walk greater distances. And put the city in ever greater debt doing so.

Of more interest to me is who will get Chair of the Finance Committee. There are not many Councillors capable of the task. Cr Lord IMO did an excellent job during Cull's mayoralty but I wonder whether he will be out of favour on account of being a UN human-induced climate doom skeptic. If so, the only other Councillor who seems to me to be able to tackle the Finance Committee is Cr Benson-Pope, clearly an ally of Mayor Hawkins. Continuing with ex-Mayor Cull's tradition, I expect Vandervis to 'get nothing' . This is a bad system, the law amended to put the Deputy Mayor role and the Committee Chairs in the gift of the Mayor, instead of being put to the vote of the whole Council as before. Since these positions come with considerably higher pay, there is an improper financial incentive to please the Mayor. This system gives the Mayor too much power as the Chair of a Committee can, to some extent, decide who may speak and who may not.





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