Bob Parker has removed himself from the mayoral race, but remaining candidate Lianne Dalziel is already eyeing him up for a role in council if she wins.
The long-serving Christchurch East Labour MP told The Press last night she felt "incredibly sad" about Parker's sudden and shocking withdrawal from the race.
"He has given so much to the city. It is true that he has given his heart and soul to the city."
The fight for leadership of the city aside, Dalziel believed Parker performed magnificently after the earthquakes, and was the reassuring voice that people needed to hear.
"He was our ambassador and nobody can ever take that away from him.
"I do feel for him and respect what he has done for our city. It is an incredibly emotional announcement, there is no question about it."
She felt that Parker was "taking responsibility and being accountable for some of the things that have occurred".
By pulling out of the mayoral race in this way, it "gave us the opportunity to allow him to end that role with dignity".
Parker last night voiced fears the campaign would get "dirty" but Dalziel said: "For me it wasn't about putting anyone down. I believe that I've got a fantastic skill set to bring to the city. I hope that I can get the opportunity to develop a really inclusive leadership role, but that will be down to the voters of Christchurch."
But council needed a culture change, and it could no longer be business as usual, she said.
If successful in the race for mayor, Dalziel was keen to include Parker in council when he was ready.
"I cannot imagine Christchurch not having a role for him and I would really like to talk to him about that."
He was a compelling ambassador for the city and "I would like to think that he would consider taking up such a role".
- © Fairfax NZ News
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