Challengers stirring in Southern mayoralities

Famous for saying "I don't care where, as long as I'm mayor", Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt is being challenged.

Country singer Suzanne Prentice told about 100 people at a meet-the-candidates meeting last week she was standing against Mr Shadbolt because she was concerned about the "needless expenditure" of ratepayers' money, the interests of Invercargill people and the council's inability to make sound decisions, the Southland Times reported.

Mr Shadbolt was reported as saying he related to a wide cross-section of the community, and he had proven his ability to fight for issues that were important for the community over his 15-year period of leadership.

The third contender, Carl Heenan, had not been invited to attend the meeting.

The NZPA reported last week Mr Shadbolt made an offer in December to deputise Ms Prentice if she chose not to stand against him in next month's elections.

She turned the offer down, stating the council was in disarray and it was not the right environment to learn from Mr Shadbolt.

Mayor of Southland since 1992, Frana Cardno faces a challenge from Roderick Young.

Mrs Cardno was criticised after spending about $28,000 on a sister-city trip to Cinque Terre in Italy.

Mr Young's nomination was put forward by someone he met outside the council chambers after a previous signatory was deemed ineligible.

The man who nominated him, Ian Eunson, said he was doing a good deed.

The other signatory, Paul Kelly, said Mr Young was a business acquaintance and he was nominating Mr Young because he wanted change.

Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks was re-elected unopposed.

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