‘Put up or shut up’: Thomson running

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An East Otago man with “plenty of skin in the game” has put his hand up for the vacant Waihemo ward councillor seat.

Jim Thomson was the first and only nomination for the Waitaki District Council position, as of Thursday morning.

Mr Thomson was nominated by Rod Philip and seconded by Stewart Johnston.

The seat became vacant in December when Peter Newton resigned.

If Mr Thomson is still the sole nomination by closing time on Monday, he will be elected automatically.

Mr Thomson moved to his 161ha Meadowbank property, on the outskirts of Palmerston, five years ago, after previously farming a 2832ha Macraes Flat property for 25 years.

He is heavily involved in the Shag Valley Irrigators Group and its members suggested he put his name forward for the seat.

“I suppose it’s a case of put up or shut up. If you don’t like something but you don’t do anything about changing it, you can’t really say anything,” Mr Thomson said.

He hoped to be able to ask the right questions of the council to achieve the best outcomes for ratepayers, if elected.

“I think the bottom line is that people pay rates to have safe water, good roads and basic facilities.”

Mr Thomson had been involved in several governance roles in school organisations and had previously been part of the Macraes Flat fire party for 20 years.

He had a strong affiliation with Otago rugby, serving 10 years as the Otago Rugby Referees Association’s chairman, a short-term role as a referee educator and was a life member of the association.

He was Otago rugby’s volunteer of the year in 2013 for his contribution to refereeing and previously worked with New Zealand Rugby as a high-performance referee coach.