Lianne Dalziel to run for second term as Christchurch mayor
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says she will "not walk away from the city".
Dalziel confirmed on Monday afternoon that she would seek a second term as Christchurch's mayor in October's local body election.
She had been overwhelmed by positive feedback from the public in recent weeks, which helped make her decision, she said.
"The challenge of bringing about the change that we have managed to achieve in the last two-and-a-half years hasn't come without its cost, but I am prepared to continue to serve the city for another three years if that's what the city chooses."
Dalziel's announcement, which was not planned, followed speculation about whether she would seek a second term as the city's mayor.
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In an interview a fortnight ago, Dalziel was asked if the role had been mentally exhausting. She responded: "That's possibly an understatement."
On Monday, Dalziel sought to clarify the statement, saying she had the flu at the time.
"Overall I'm feeling really optimistic for the future of our city but I know that there are some people who at the moment are feeling really left behind and they are more than exhausted, they're at the end of their tether, and they're the people I want to get across the line so that they can enjoy this wonderful future that our city is going to have."
Dalziel had planned to announce her campaign for re-election in a written statement, but had been telling people of her plans after they "expressed deep concern" that she might not run again.
People had told her things were going well in Christchurch and there was "stability and confidence" in the council.
"They've said those things are really important to them and that the reports that I may not run again have actually worried them – that they might lose that sense of stability.
"I haven't been in a position to make an announcement as such, but . . . the message I've been getting is the degree of concern that people feel that I'm not going to be there for them and that's what I want to rectify.
"I won't walk away from the city."
Dalziel said she was passionate about Christchurch and wanted the council to "take back the leadership role" that would give central Government confidence to restore democracy to the city.
"If people are generally happy with the direction that the city has taken over the last couple of years . . . and want to continue down that path then I'm willing to provide the city with the type of leadership that I have offered."
Christchurch City councillor Raf Manji said Dalziel's decision to run again had always been a possibility, and he supported her campaign.
"It's been a very tough two-and-a-half years and she has done an incredible amount of work – a lot of which people don't see. Hopefully she will get a bit of a breather and come back for the next three years."
Councillor Andrew Turner, spokesman for left-leaning group The People's Choice, said he supported Dalziel's re-election and a candidate from the party would not challenge her.
"Lianne largely shares the same values as we do and while there have been differences, we've worked through those in a respectful environment."
Councillor Paul Lonsdale, who ran against Dalziel in 2013's mayoralty race, said the community needed consistency – and Dalziel brought that.
"She has done a huge amount of work through her term and we've garnished a lot of ground in many respects."
He said Dalziel had been instrumental in building trust with the Government, which would see the council "in good stead this coming term".
Lonsdale said he would not run for mayor again this year as he did not want to be a "recidivist mayoral candidate", but he hoped another strong candidate would put their hand up.
"It builds a bit of a mayoral campaign and, let's face it, the election is pretty much run around the mayoral campaign more than the individual members. Whilst they're important, the excitement is always round the mayoralty."
Associate Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Nicky Wagner said she wished Dalziel well in her bid for re-election.
"I'm not surprised that Lianne is standing because she's very committed to Christchurch. There's a lot more work to do in the city."
Political commentator Mike Yardley said it would be foolish for Dalziel to stand again if she did not have "the fire in the belly for a second term".
"I'm thrilled for the sake of continuity, that she's going to push on. I think that in the interest of democracy, it would still be great to see a challenger for the mayoralty but unseating an incumbent is always a formidable task."
Former Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore said he had been impressed how Dalziel had brought a "dysfunctional council with a bad relationship with the Government" to a place where the Government was "feeling a lot more comfortable and so would a lot of us who are ratepayers and observers of this city".
"She inherited a mess and I think that she's done it very capably and I'm pleased to see she's going to stand again," he said.