Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel 'mentally exhausted'

Lianne Dalziel is torn about whether or not to re-seek the mayoralty at this year's local body elections.
STACY SQUIRES/FAIRFAX NZ

Lianne Dalziel is torn about whether or not to re-seek the mayoralty at this year's local body elections.

Lianne Dalziel has spoken out about the personal challenges she has faced as Christchurch's mayor, casting doubt on whether she will seek re-election.

The incumbent will not be drawn on her intentions in this year's local body elections and told Newstalk ZB on Tuesday she was "torn both ways".

Speaking to local radio host Chris Lynch, Dalziel said she had a "few other things" to take into account before making her decision. 

Earlier this year, she said she was waiting for the Local Government Commission to finalise a review of the city's ward boundaries and council structure before confirming her election intentions. 

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The representation review was released on Friday but Dalziel told Newstalk ZB she was yet to make a final decision about whether she wanted another three years in office. 

"I want to talk to . . . other people about what their intentions are.

"If I want to make myself available for consideration then I've got a couple of other things to sort out myself and discuss with my husband," she said. 

The council had achieved a lot in two-and-a-half years and there were many items on her list of considerations that had been "ticked off", Dalziel said. 

"We've managed to unpack [the council's finances], we've got the insurance settlement, the transition was always a big issue and we managed to get the legislation in a shape that it went through Parliament with unanimous support."

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But it all came with a personal cost, she said. 

While she was optimistic and excited about the future of Christchurch, she worried about residents with unresolved insurance claims and those who remained "absolutely stuck" in the residential red zones. 

"[Being mayor] isn't an easy role to play and it's been quite personally challenging."

Dalziel referred to internet trolls and nasty online comments and said she sometimes felt she did not have the opportunity to respond. 

"It's hard not to take things personally," she told Newstalk ZB.

Lynch asked if the role had been mentally exhausting. Dalziel responded: "That's possibly an understatement".

Some residents did not understand the "decision-making framework" of the city and believed the council and mayor had more influence over central Government than it did, she said. 

Dalziel was unavailable to be interviewed by Stuff on Tuesday. 

Meanwhile, Fendalton-Waimairi councillor Jamie Gough said he was "very much leaning towards" standing again, saying he had more to do within the council.

"It doesn't feel right to step away just yet."

His ward mate Cr Raf Manji ruled out running for mayor, which could be a clue that Dalziel would indeed seek re-election as Manji previously said he would consider running only if Dalziel did not. 

Manji has not said whether he would run for council again this year. 

Cr Ali Jones said she intended to make her decision publicly known by the end of the month.

The representation review confirmed the city would be divided into 16 wards, with each delivering one councillor. 

The changes meant some existing councillors would have to face off against each other if they sought re-election in the ward they lived in.

In May 2015, Dalziel broke down in council meeting, making a tearful apology to east Christchurch residents who felt she had let them down

 - Stuff

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