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A battle for the mayoralty and elections for councillors with almost double the number of candidates needed should liven up proceedings for Central Otago voters. Mayor Tony Lepper (57) is seeking a second term.
He is being challenged by former district councillor Lynley Claridge. Mrs Claridge, who is in her 50s, is an accounting manager and co-owner of a funeral business.
Three years ago, there was no election needed for the Central Otago District Council as there were exactly the required numbers of candidates in each ward, but it was almost the opposite this time around.
A late flurry of nominations yesterday meant voters will be spoilt for choice in the council's Alexandra, Cromwell, Earnscleugh-Manuherikia and Maniototo wards.
The Teviot Valley ward will be represented by Roxburgh orchardist Stephen Jeffery (57), who has served five terms on the Roxburgh Community Board, the past two terms as chairman. He had no opponents for the council role.
A notable feature of the election is that several long-serving councillors and board members have stepped down and two candidates in their 20s are among the ''fresh faces'' hoping for seats. Sheree Williams (23), of Clyde, is one of the youngest candidates in Central Otago. She and Mel Bell (29), of Alexandra, are seeking seats on the Vincent Community Board.
Retiring board members include Murray MacMillan, who has served seven terms on the Cromwell Community Board and three on the council, and Helen Pinder (63), of Roxburgh, who has served three consecutive terms on the Roxburgh board.
Jenny Simmons, of Alexandra, who was hoping to bring back the Alexandra pie cart but got knocked back by the Vincent board, is one of six contenders for two seats on the board.
Five nominees are affiliating themselves with the Progressive Group in what is believed to be the first time candidates in the district have campaigned under a banner. Council and Vincent board candidate Stu Millis set up the group to focus on ''sensible progress'' in the Alexandra area.
''We're identifying ourselves as a group that's progressive to distinguish us from the incumbents, who we see as not progressive.
''Our main aim is to stop the council telling businesses to shift to Cromwell,'' he said Mr Millis, an Alexandra businessman, is joined in the group by Vincent board candidates Grant Constable, Les McFadyen, John Thomson and Sheree Williams.