Elder tipped to quit, with no regrets

ALEX FENSOME
Last updated 05:00 23/11/2012

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Norman Elder says he will almost certainly quit the Invercargill City Council at next year's election.

"I just don't know if I can be interested in the machinations around the council table anymore," he said.

Cr Elder has been on the council for 15 years and is chairman of Holdco, the council holding company.

He has been at the centre of controversy in recent weeks over the appointment of a new chief executive, after he resigned as chairman of the subcommittee handling it.

In June the council selected the subcommittee to accept a consultant's recommended final 10 candidates for the job.

The subcommittee later changed the process, allowing them to also interview the final 10 candidates and have a say on who should be on the shortlist presented to the full council.

Cr Elder, who opposed the move because he wanted the process to be open and transparent, resigned in response.

He has also faced criticism over the sale of the council-owned Deveron St car park to building company Calder Stewart, of which he is a director, for $1 million.

He did not vote on the sale after declaring a conflict of interest, but the saga has rumbled on after it emerged Mayor Tim Shadbolt had used his casting vote to push through the sale when the council was deadlocked.

Cr Elder said the car park had no bearing on his decision to quit the council next year.

"The car park doesn't worry me," he said. "If people out there think it is worth more than the purchaser paid for it, they can go and buy it themselves and take the profit."

Cr Elder said he had no regrets about his time on the council. "I've been involved with fascinating people, had a good time and done exciting things. I made a change in Invercargill."

Before leaving he said he wanted to finish work on the Inner City Working Group, which works to revitalise the city centre.

It would take a lot of persuasion to make him change his mind and stand in next year's election, he said.

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- The Southland Times

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