Colin King confirms bid to become Marlborough's mayor

Colin King will run for mayor of Marlborough.
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Colin King will run for mayor of Marlborough.

The Marlborough mayoralty election race is heating up with former MP Colin King confirmed to stand.

Blenheim businessman Sturrock Saunders has ruled himself out of the running but said he was "seriously considering" running as a councillor.

Garden Marlborough chairman Tim Crawford was still undecided if he would run for mayor.

Sturrock Saunders says he is seriously considering running for the Marlborough District Council.
SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

Sturrock Saunders says he is seriously considering running for the Marlborough District Council.

King and Blenheim councillor Brian Dawson were the only mayoral candidates confirmed for October's local government elections.

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Sowman was not expected to make an announcement until the last minute.

King, who had long hinted at a mayoral bid, said he was standing because he was concerned Marlborough had stagnated. 

"There are not enough jobs for our young people, so our children and grandchildren are leaving the area," he said.

King, who served as Kaikoura MP from 2005 to 2014, said Marlborough deserved a mayor equally attuned to business and central government as they were to the needs of the local community.

"We need a mayor who is able to unite council to be ambitious for everyone living in Marlborough, and everyone who would love to live in Marlborough but cannot due to lack of well paid jobs."

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Local government had lost track of the important issues facing society, he said.

There was a "lack of transparency and honesty" shown by the council as displayed by the "over use" of public excluded council sessions, he said.

This had contributed to a lack of confidence in the way some business was conducted by the council, he said.

Examples of this had been the council's handling of appointments to council entities and the theatre. 

If elected, King said he would establish a register of pecuniary interests to begin strengthening public trust and confidence in council.

The council should stick to core public infrastructure such as drinking water for all, waste water treatment, and storm water systems and leave businesses to take the commercial risks associated with developing and building, he said.

Saunders said it was a "bit early" for him to run for mayor but he was close to making a decision on running as a councillor.

He was seriously considering standing after he received encouragement from the community to run, he said.

"I am civic-minded and I am a fifth generation Marlburian."

Saunders said he had not been invited to a local government seminar organised by King where political strategist Simon Lusk gave council candidates a crash course on what it took to win an election.

"If I run, I will run my own campaign."

Saunders, who is a member of the national party, was not considering King or anyone else as a running mate.

"I don't think it is necessary. You should stand on your own merits.

"There is a lot of politicking and posturing. I am not that person. I get stuff done."

He wanted to look at the total suite of council assets and consider if they were the best investment portfolio for the benefit of the people of Marlborough, he said.

Saunders said he had no views if Port Marlborough should be privatised.

Saunders was the new chairman of the Marlborough Boys' College board of trustees.

He was a prominent campaigner in the Save our Services group that pushed the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board not to cut round-the-clock services at Wairau Hospital.

New faces confirmed to run for council include former Redwoodtown School principal Gary Hildyard, former Whitney Street principal Alan Straker and Nadine Taylor, who runs a commercial fishing company.

 - The Marlborough Express

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