New mayor possible by Xmas

If Jono Naylor is elected to Parliament, it's possible the election for his successor as Palmerston North mayor will happen this year.

Naylor would need to resign before the official parliamentary election results were known in order to have an election to vote in a new mayor before Christmas.

Naylor said when he announced his candidacy for the National Party contesting the Palmerston North seat that he would resign as mayor if elected to Parliament.

But he said he would give careful thought to the timing of his resignation to avoid the need for campaigning for the mayoralty during the Christmas rush.

The National Party is due to release its party list this weekend. That should reveal whether Naylor has a good chance of making it into Parliament on the national party vote or whether he will need to topple city MP Iain Lees-Galloway in the local race to get in.

The general election is on September 20.

The race for the mayoralty, if required, is expected to happen next year, but it may not.

The Local Electoral Act requires an election to be held not more than 82 days after the electoral officer receives notice that there is a vacancy to be filled.

If Naylor handed his resignation to council chief executive Paddy Clifford on election night and Clifford gave notice to electoral officer John Annabell on Monday, September 22, it is possible an election could be held as early as December 11.

It's more likely the handover of official papers would be delayed to allow for a weekend election on Saturday, December 13.

If there was a delay of a few more days, it would still be possible to hold an election on the last weekend before Christmas, December 20.

However, if the result was close and Naylor's parliamentary success was uncertain on election night, he might wait to make his decision about whether he needed to resign from the mayoralty until after the official results came in on October 4.

By that time, section 138A of the legislation would have kicked in, which provides different time frames for the conduct of "certain" elections.

If the decision to call an election was made any time after September 28, the earliest polling date would be February 10.

Manawatu Standard