Mayor puts hand up for fourth term
Mayor Alistair Sowman said yesterday he will contest the Marlborough mayoralty again next year.
The Express asked the mayor and other councillors if they were considering standing after Marlborough chef Chris Fortune revealed on Twitter early yesterday that he planned to run for the position.
Most councillors said the elections were too far away to answer the question, but Mr Sowman said he planned to run for a fourth term as mayor, and encouraged other people to put their names forward.
"I've still got the energy, enthusiasm and passion and I've built up a lot of experience," he said.
Councillor Jamie Arbuckle, who was just 3800 votes off taking the mayoralty from Mr Sowman in the 2010 election, is keeping his plans close to his chest.
"It's far too soon to say. There are so many more important issues to be taken care of - I want to get through the annual plan first."
However, he was clear he would not be voting for Mr Fortune. The pair were embroiled in a public clash in 2009 when the Marlborough Farmers' Market committee refused to let Mr Arbuckle have a stall at the market.
The market committee, then chaired by Mr Fortune, said they had received complaints about the quality of Mr Arbuckle's produce and that he had sold produce he did not grow, which was not in line with market rules.
Mr Arbuckle rebutted those allegations.
Yesterday Cr Arbuckle said: "My advice for Chris Fortune is that if he's going to run council like he's run the Marlborough Farmers' Market he will never last because his views are too restrictive."
Councillor David Dew declined to comment about his plans, after telling the Express in March he would probably run for mayor.
He said then he wouldn't make the decision until next year, but "it is likely that I would do that as things stand now".
Councillor Jessica Bagge said she was not interested in being mayor, and councillors Francis Maher and Terry Sloan said it was too early to say what their plans were.
Deputy mayor Jenny Andrews said she would stand again because she was enjoying the work, but would not run for mayor.
Councillor John Leggett said he had been encouraged to run for mayor, but didn't want to show his hand too early.
"I don't want to discount anything - it's still 12 months away. We'll have to see how it all pans out."
Other councillors could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Mr Fortune yesterday credited former and existing councillors with doing a great job of ensuring the region's economic growth and investing in capital infrastructure.
However, he was keen to "look inwards" and concentrate on the region's people.
He planned to run only for the mayoralty, not for a councillor seat, he said.
He is a Marlborough Farmers' Market founding member, Farmers' Market New Zealand chairman, and the organisation's representative for the Primary Industries Ministry. He is also the Marlborough Community Garden founding chairman, Kids Can Cook Trust founding member and a cub pack leader named Baloo.
- The Marlborough Express