Aspirants stress council unity

Two experienced candidates are vying for the Clutha mayoralty - the incumbent, Bryan Cadogan, and deputy mayor Hamish Anderson.

The mayoral race began with Mr Anderson ruffling feathers with his statement he was ''actively encouraged to stand for the mayoralty by a majority of current councillors'', which created what one councillor described as a ''delicate situation'' for the council.

Some councillors felt the statement implied there was a division within the council, prompting both candidates to deny this, describing the council as ''cohesive''.

Mr Anderson said councillors had no allegiance to any political party or community groups, and were divided only on issues it discussed, while Mr Cadogan stated he made it clear to councillors from the start he would never ask for their votes, only that they stick to their beliefs.

Mr Anderson was nominated by former mayor Juno Hayes, and former councillor Jeff Seymour.

Stuart Peggie and Timothy White nominated Mr Cadogan.

Mr Anderson hopes to lead a district that is a desirable place to live, work and raise a family.

He promises to use his leadership and governance skills combined with academic qualification (BComAg in management) to lead a council focused on making good, fact-based decisions which will deliver good outcomes for all residents.

The Stirling dairy farmer believes the council must make decisions based on the facts and focus on providing

key services, while offering positive returns for ratepayers.

Mr Cadogan says he will strive to enhance the district's position and growth while ensuring decision-making aligns with residents' ability to meet rates.

He believes he has a lot to offer the district - passion, experience, vision and determination.

His diverse background (having worked at Finegand, shearing, farm ownership, real estate sales and business ownership) has given him a broad understanding of the issues confronting the district, he says.

He hopes to carry on with initiatives like the Ready, Steady, Work programme, which aims to give confidence and skills to the district's youth before helping them into employment.

Elsewhere in the district, six people are standing for four positions in the Balclutha ward. They are Crs Anderson, Ron Davis, and Ken Payne and newcomers Grant Driver, Stewart MacDonell and Jo-anne Thomson.

In the Lawrence-Tuapeka ward, incumbent Geoff Blackmore is challenged by Paul Tansley.

All other wards and the West Otago Community Board will not require elections.

The Lawrence-Tuapeka Community Board will also hold an election. There are eight nominations for six positions: incumbents Geoff Davidson, Rochelle Langley, Garry McCorkindale and Rowena Paterson,

and newcomers Liz Forbes, Malcolm MacLeod, Paul Tansley and Brent Taylor. Roading, rates, earthquake strengthening, and district development are key areas for Clutha.

The $2.6 million upgrade of Balclutha's main street remains a hot topic, attracting 116 submissions, many of them concerned about the potential loss of parking, a proposed town heart in John St, and the number of trees to be planted.

Voters will also be concerned about retaining core services after spending the past 21 months without a courthouse, and losing the

two Balclutha-based registrars in March, while the effects of Southern police restructuring on the district remains unclear.

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