Kircher only early runner

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No other mayoral contenders at present
CHRIS.TOBIN
@oamarumail.co.nz
With less than 12 months to go to the next local body election, no rivals are appearing to challenge Waitaki mayor Gary Kircher for the position.
On Monday, Mr Kircher announced he would seek reelection.
His main rival in the 2013 elections, Jim Hopkins, a sitting councillor for the Oamaru ward, said he would be standing again for the council.
However, as for the mayoralty, he said: ‘‘No, not at this stage.’’
In 2013, Mr Kircher polled 3163 votes and Mr Hopkins 2759.
Eric Spittal, the next highest polling candidate in 2013 with 1047 votes, told the Oamaru Mail he would not be standing.
‘‘No, I had nine years on the Waimate Borough Council. I got thoroughly beaten [in 2013] and have no intention of doing it again,’’ Mr Spittal said.
Present deputy mayor Hugh Perkins ruled himself out of the mayoralty but said he would like to continue as deputy, if invited.
‘‘Being deputy mayor has not been unduly onerous,’’ he said.
‘‘Although Gary is extremely busy, he seems to cover most official engagements himself and some deputising has been shared amongst other councillors.’’
None of the present councillors has expressed a wish to contest the mayoralty.
Former longstanding councillor Helen Stead also stood for the mayoralty in 2013 and placed sixth of seven candidates.
‘‘I’m definitely out,’’ she said. ‘‘I probably shouldn’t have stood for mayor.’’
Mrs Stead said she thought the council was performing well.
‘‘The council is chugging on reasonably well. I like that they have committees and spread the load of chairs and responsibilities which had sadly gone out the window when I was on council.
‘‘I think the contracting situation with Whitestone and South Roads seems more amicable; I’m well out of it now but I don’t seem to hear the same number of complaints regarding roads.’’
Mr Kircher said two terms were needed to make ‘‘a sufficient difference’’ in local government.
‘‘But I don’t think council has mucked around; we have a strong record of achieving some pretty positive decisions to advance Waitaki economically and socially,’’ Mr Kircher said.
He said the council had achieved operational surpluses and lower than average rate increases.
‘‘It had also improved public communications and customer services while supporting groups and projects.
‘‘Equally, I’m very quick to acknowledge that we still have much more to do. I continue to remind our councillors and staff that we can always do better.
‘‘We still have improvements to make in areas of customer service, communication, infrastructural
management, and so on.’’
Nominations for candidates in next year’s election open on July 15, 2016, and close on August 12, 2016. The election will be held on October 8, 2016.
Nearly all the present councillors intend seeking reelection. On pages 6-7, the councillors declare their intentions to the Oamaru Mail and give their views on how they have performed since 2013.