Nelson city councillors are keeping their cards close to their chests over whether they plan to seek re-election next year, while Mayor Aldo Miccio has not denied that his political intentions might expand to a bigger arena.
Political commentator David Farrar recently singled out Mr Miccio in a lineup of future Labour politicians, describing him as the "type who could fit easily into either major party", and who would "relish the challenge of winning Nelson for Labour and would be a great addition to Parliament".
Mr Miccio declined to say if this was his ambition. He said that at this stage, his focus and energy was on "helping the council team make Nelson a better place".
"Next year and the year after are too far out to give consideration to yet," Mr Miccio said.
Council newcomers in the last election, Ruth Copeland and Kate Fulton, along with Paul Matheson, were the only councillors to confirm they will stand again.
"Hell, yeah. Thrilling is how I'd describe being on council," Mrs Copeland said.
She felt the council was on track with its aims, but it was a "very fluid, changing environment" nationally and locally due to pending reform.
"Our capability to respond is coming on very well, and the culture is developing well. Feedback from staff indicates how exciting it is to be here.
"It's a big workload but if you love what you do, every day's a party," Mrs Copeland said.
Ms Fulton confirmed that she would stand again.
"It's been really good and an amazing learning experience," she said.
"I feel we're serving the city as best as we can, and it's a great team.
"It's a diverse circle and really representative of the community.'
Eric Davy said he would "probably stand again", but he did not want to comment on how he felt the council was performing this term.
Jeff Rackley was unsure whether he would stand again.
He said it had been a tough term so far.
"A couple of months ago I would have said I was a goner, but now I think it's going pretty well."
Pete Rainey was also undecided, and said he was likely to remain that way until candidate nomination forms were due.
"I waver between it being the last thing I'd want on the face of the planet to being entirely enthusiastic."
"If anyone said to me now they were thinking of standing for council, I'd want to know what their rationale was," Mr Rainey said.
He said local government was a "very challenging environment" because of it being squeezed between public and central government criticism.
"I'm not ruling out standing again, but it's not something I'll decide until an hour before the nomination form has to go in."
Rachel Reese said elections were something she would not think about until closer to the time.
She described the council as providing "challenging times", and said a lot of work was needed if Nelson wanted a prosperous future.
Ian Barker, who was this week elected to the Network Tasman Trust, said he would decide over the next few months if he would stand for the council again.
"While keeping an open mind, anything is possible."
Mike Ward was also undecided. He said he felt the current council was working well. "I think they're an enlightened group of people who are working for the city.
"There's an expectation that results of decisions should happen quickly, but that's not the case. We work way into the future."
Mr Ward felt the council was engaging more with the community but there was room for improvement.
"Some of our consultation has been found wanting, and we've taken that on board."
Derek Shaw was also undecided, but said he felt progress had been good in challenging times, including organising Rugby World Cup events, dealing with last December's floods and slips and the resulting recovery plan work, and the amalgamation and Maori ward debates.
"We have continued to make good progress on a lot of issues," Mr Shaw said.
Examples of where inroads had been made included developments in public transport, cycling and mountain biking facilities, sorting out the Theatre Royal and the Nelson School of Music, the Suter upgrade, Saxton Field facilities, and the Framing our Future work campaign. There was also the continuation of various joint activities with the Tasman District Council.
Paul Matheson said that at this stage, he would stand again. He did not want to comment on the council's progress, other than to say there was "unfinished business".
Deputy Mayor Ali Boswijk and Councillor Gail Collingwood's plans were reported in the Nelson Mail earlier this week. Mrs Collingwood said she would not be standing again, and Mrs Boswijk, who has a new job at with World of WearableArt, said she was also unlikely to stand again.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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