Former Northland MP John Carter is cutting short his term as New Zealand's High Commissioner in the Cook Islands to run for mayor of the Far North district.
John Carter represented Northland in Parliament for 24 years before retiring as MP in 2011.
He is currently visiting his home at Waipapakauri Beach before visiting Wellington for official business and returning to Rarotonga. He will move back to the Far North in July to run his mayoral campaign.
He says he will not be putting up a team of candidates for the council.
"It is for the people of the Far North to decide who they want to represent them in each ward."
On the top of his list of concerns is disunity among local body leaders in Northland and what he sees as resultant lack of progress.
"I love the Far North, I am deeply aware of what a wonderful place it is and how many talented people live here, and I know it should be doing better.
"I also feel that my many years representing the area have given me the knowledge, skills and contacts to provide the unifying leadership needed to achieve that."
Mr Carter has informed current mayor Wayne Brown of his decision to seek election and says the two plan to meet this week.
Mr Carter says he will release specific policy ideas closer to the local body elections in October.
"For the moment I want to focus on what will be the two main themes of my campaign: uniting the Far North so we all work together and speak with one voice, and developing the best local government structure for the district to progress."
He says if he is elected as mayor he is confident he will be able to unify the community to be able to make full use of the Far North's resources - "the land, the sea, the scenery, the history, and most importantly the people".
As to the present debate about the best local government structure for the north, Mr Carter said he knows what the Government's thinking on local government is and he can use that knowledge to the advantage of the Far North.
"I have a deep understanding of the present council structure and I can make it work for us all.
"I am aware there is a concern that the Far North's concerns are not being heard in Wellington and I can fix that without the need for drastic change," he says.
Mr Carter says he is aware of community amalgamation concerns.
"There is no reason why we cannot balance the need for a unified district with the ability for different areas to follow policies which best serve the interests of their own people. As mayor I would work closely with the different community boards to make that possible."
John Carter served as county clerk of the old Hokianga County Council prior to being elected as MP. During his 24 years in Parliament, he served as minister for civil defence, senior citizens, racing and associate minister for local government, as well as chairing the parliamentary select committee which considered submissions on the new local government structure for Auckland.
- © Fairfax NZ News