Lianne Dalziel bid for Chch mayoralty

CHALLENGER: Lianne Dalziel is set to enter the race for the Christchurch mayoralty.
CHALLENGER: Lianne Dalziel is set to enter the race for the Christchurch mayoralty.

Labour MP Lianne Dalziel is set to enter the Christchurch mayoral race, Fairfax Media understands.

The Christchurch East MP has long been rumoured as the favourite to challenge incumbent Bob Parker for the mayoral chains, following her high-profile role as Labour's earthquake recovery spokeswoman, and criticism of the current council.

Her declaration is expected later this week.

Dalziel has the backing of her party for a mayoral bid, despite dropping out of the top 20-ranked Labour MPs in a party reshuffle in February.

If she stands and wins, she will likely have to resign her Christchurch East seat, triggering a by-election.

Dalziel has kept Christchurch guessing about a mayoralty bid for months.

In March she was "99 per cent" sure she would not stand, but a month later it was revealed she had attempted to recruit Student Volunteer Army founder Sam Johnson as a potential running mate.

Last month she was still coy on a bid, but talked about the importance of an alternative council leadership that cut across political party lines.

She said at the time that she would consider standing if she got the "right" team behind her, but admitted it was likely to include candidates from the Left-leaning People's Choice movement.

The rumour mill started turning again this month when Dalziel posted a picture of her with former mayors Vicki Buck and Garry Moore in a Christchurch cafe.

Buck and Moore were both said to be considering local government comebacks, and it emerged Buck and Dalziel had been meeting regularly.

Moore has since stepped back from that position.

When contacted yesterday, he declined to comment on record about his plans, indicating that he wanted to control the way he made the announcement.

The former three-term mayor has been a vocal critic of incumbent mayor Parker.

Buck, Moore's mayoral predecessor, is yet to make any announcement.

The Press