Mayoral profile: Gary Kircher

Gary Kircher
Gary Kircher
The Otago Daily Times is profiling mayoral candidates in Otago's heartland. Today, David Bruce talks to Gary Kircher, standing in Waitaki.

Former Waitaki deputy mayor Gary Kircher will be looking for the ideal birthday present next month - being elected Waitaki mayor.

Mr Kircher's 50th birthday is on October 11, the day before election day, October 12.

This will be the second time Mr Kircher has contested the mayoralty, his first attempt in 2010 against incumbent Alex Familton failing. This time, Mr Familton is not standing and Mr Kircher is competing against six other candidates.

Mr Kircher had expected there to be big interest in the mayoralty after Mr Familton announced he was not seeking re-election.

Why are you standing for mayor?
''My vision for the Waitaki district is to be the best district in which to live, work and play. I love our district and everything it offers. The mayoralty gives me the best opportunity to make a positive difference to our district and grow opportunities for everyone.

"I want more job opportunities for our people, better services for our ratepayers and for the council to be a customer-friendly, responsive and efficient organisation we can be proud of. Of all of the candidates, I have the right mix of business and financial knowledge, passion, community involvement and proven ability to work with others to make this a reality.''

Will you be a full-time mayor and why?
''I expect to work 50-plus hours per week to achieve what I want for our district. There will be many public events and meetings which Kerry and I will attend whenever possible. Council and other meetings are also part of the role.

"But I see the most important part of the role is to push our district forward, helping businesses grow and employ more people, getting council focused on the important things rather than the bureaucracy and improving the quality of our services. This is not something to be achieved on a part-time basis if we are serious about moving ahead.''

What position do you think the district is in?
''It's often said that Waitaki has great potential but we have yet to realise that potential. Agriculture is going well with irrigation and we have room for much more growth in the sector across the district. Tourism is growing and providing opportunities - the Alps 2 Ocean cycleway will bring more.

"But we're still too reliant on a few businesses in the district and we must grow this base. I will provide strong leadership to help our businesses grow and to attract new businesses. We have issues with our roads and some other infrastructure which need fixing and we have issues with an ageing population and too few ratepayers.''

What are three issues facing the incoming council and why?
''We need more opportunities for our people of all ages, to keep them here and to help them prosper. If we don't encourage jobs, we'll lose the very people we need.

''Our ageing demographic is a real concern. We have to look after the increasing number of older people we will have. We also need to keep and attract more young people through good jobs and great lifestyles.

''Our council is not running efficiently. Rural roads, rubbish services and regulations are all areas where the council must improve and I am very focused on these issues.''

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

''I aim to improve job opportunities, council services and value for rates. I will not be satisfied to only achieve one of these things. I have a record of getting things done and I will be working hard to achieve these because all of these areas are critical to the future of our district and our people.''

Gary Kircher
Age: 49.
Occupation: Work broker.
Marital status: Married to Kerry. Children Ryan, Alex, Nicole, Jessica, Richard.
Council experience: Waitaki district councillor (Oamaru) 2001-10; deputy mayor 2007-10; Harbour, hearings, finance, opera house, town centre committee chairman plus others.
Describe yourself in three words: Proactive, conscientious, practical.



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