McPherson keen to be '24/7' mayor

Martin McPherson.
Martin McPherson.
What do you know about the candidates contesting the 2016 Central Otago mayoral election? Lynda van Kempen and Jono Edwards put the questions to the contenders.

Born, raised and educated in Christchurch, Martin McPherson first came to Central Otago in 1989 to organise a New Year’s function at Oliver’s restaurant in Clyde.

"I had an epiphany. I thought the stars were so close you could pluck down the Southern Cross and hang it around a young nun’s neck. I knew in my heart of hearts that I was going to end up living here."

He moved to Alexandra in 1993 and has since had various roles in marketing and promotions in Alexandra and the greater district.

He is managing his seventh consecutive Alexandra Blossom Festival.

Why are you standing for mayor?

Because the people of this community have asked me to.

They recognise the experience I have.

The passion I have brought to my work in this community over the last 23 years.

I was approached on a daily basis by residents and business people.

It’s my third term on council.

I’ve been deputy chair of the planning committee for the last nine years.

I have been active in this community in a variety of fields.

And I’m probably best known as the manager of Blossom Festival.

That puts me in touch with a real wide range of people throughout the whole district and people have seen what I’ve done with that and I hope that I can bring some of those skills and talent and energy and creativity to the role of the mayor of the district.

The biggest asset I have is people know they can stop and talk to me on the street.

This council has achieved a lot.

We’ve got some major infrastructure projects under way and now it’s "what do we do next?".

I’ve got some ideas of what we do next.

Will you be a full-time mayor and why?

Yes. In the job you’re on call 24/7.

I’d go to the opening of an envelope and be the chief cheerleader and flag bearer for this whole district, so I’d be available when required and it’d be my total commitment.

What position do you think the district is in?

I think we’re on the cusp of some really exciting times with the investments we’re seeing going out throughout the district.

Not only with the infrastructure that the council’s putting in but with developments in Cromwell and Alex and elsewhere, we are in a really good position with consistent growth and we’re moving forward.

We’re seeing it throughout the district, some of the plans the irrigators have put in mean we’re going to see a change to our farming techniques.

With a $10million investment in the school at Ranfurly, the money being put into the cycle trails and the spin-offs that they’re bringing, I don’t think there’s a sector that’s really missing out at present.

What are three issues facing the incoming council?

Keeping living here as affordable as possible.

Spreading the cost of living here over more people is my primary objective.

Maintaining the quality of lifestyle we have here including caring for our environment.

And the third one is ensuring we have stable economic growth.

What’s important now is forward planning and we’ve made some major investments in infrastructure and we’ve still got some more to make.

We need to make sure we have the roads, the pipes, the water, the waste systems in place so that growth can happen.

We need to be more proactive in some of those developments.

What would be the one thing you would like to have achieved by the end of your first term?

In my first 100 days I want to meet with all the landowners and developers around the district to see what this council can do to improve development opportunities.

I’d like to see the current strategies of how we market ourself reviewed with a greater emphasis on attracting people who would like to relocate from large urban areas like Auckland.

I think we need to start looking at having more land available for people to build houses on.


Martin McPherson

Age:  59.

Occupation:  Promoter and event manager.

Martial status:  Long-term partner.

Council experience:  On local community boards since 1996 and has had three terms as a Central Otago district councillor.  Deputy chairman of council planning and environment committee.

Describe yourself in three words:  Affable, approachable, available.

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