Dunedin councillor bids for mayoralty

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Just hours after incumbent Waitaki Alex Familton announced he will not re-stand for the mayoralty at the upcoming local body elections, Dunedin City Councillor Fliss Butcher has announced she will stand for the Mayoralty of Waitaki District and the Corriedale ward.

Mrs Butcher, 55, who spoke to the Oamaru Mail from Queensland, said she and her husband Ian have owned property in the ward for about 15 years and she has spent, on average four days a week in Oamaru. “My decision to stand is based on a firm commitment to the Waitaki people and region,” she said.

“I have some exciting new policies that I believe will put us on the map and make Waitaki one of the places in the world to live in and visit.

“As a district, we also need to make sure we are knocking on the door of central government and are not left behind _ especially with the Christchurch re-build and the developments in Auckland.”

Mrs Butcher said after a period of “ill health and personal issues” she was back to excellent health and ready for a new challenge.

“I feel it would be a shame to waste the experience I have as a local body politician,” she said. “I have always planned to run for election in Waitaki; the plans have just come forward a bit.

“Best wishes and thanks to current Mayor Alex Familton for such a great job over the last few years and I look forward to being on the campaign trail with the other candidates on what I predict will be a very interesting and fun campaign.”

With Mrs Butcher declaring her intention to run for the double ticket of Waitaki Mayoralty and the Corriedale Ward, there are to date, two known candidates lining up for the Waitaki Mayoralty race with more possibly to come, Mrs Butcher and former deputy mayor Gary Kircher.

Deputy Mayor Jim Hopkins has yet to confirm he is standing. There is one vacancy in the Oamaru ward with Councillor Gary Young confirming he will not be re-standing.

Corriedale ward is wide open following the resignation early this year of first-time councillor Geoff Keeling and the announcement last week from Councillor Kevin Malcolm that he would not be seeking re-election. Ahuriri Ward is also open for a new representative with Councillor Craig Dawson confirming an earlier decision that he would not be seeking re-election.

Nominations for local body elections will open this Friday (July 19) and close on August 16 at noon.

By Jacquie Webby