At least two councillors say they will step down

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 05:00 23/01/2013
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Councillor Peter Beck
claudia reid
COUNCILLOR: Claudia Reid.
barry corbett
HAD ENOUGH: Councillor Barry Corbett.

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The Christchurch City Council is in line for a shakeup as two councillors plan to vacate their seats in October and another three waver over their future.

Barry Corbett and Claudia Reid have told The Press they will surrender their seats in this year's local-body elections, while Sue Wells, Sally Buck and Peter Beck say they are undecided.

Corbett is standing down after five terms. The former broadcaster, who first won election in 1998, said he had always intended not to spend more than 15 years in office and he was "sticking to his word".

"Fifteen years is long enough for anyone," Corbett said yesterday.

Ill-health is forcing Reid's departure. She has been Banks Peninsula's sole representative since 2007 but was diagnosed with lung cancer in the middle of last year.

She underwent major surgery and, although her prognosis is good, her recovery has been slow.

"I am not 120 per cent fit, and Banks Peninsula people need and deserve someone who is," she said.

She said being the sole councillor for the largest ward was a demanding role.

"I have been asked to consider standing for a metropolitan ward, and I am giving that some thought."

Wells, who with Corbett represents the Spreydon-Heathcote ward, said she "didn't have a clue" on whether she would seek re-election.

"We don't even know where we will be living so, until we've got that sorted out, I'm not even giving it a thought," she said.

Buck, who has represented the Fendalton-Waimairi ward for 15 years, said she also had not made up her mind.

The third councillor yet to make up his mind on his political future is the former dean of Christ Church Cathedral. Beck was elected in a by-election early last year and is still considering his options.

Deputy Mayor Ngaire Button said she had been considering standing down but, after having some time out from the job, she was feeling re-energised and ready to continue.

"I don't feel like my run is finished," she said. "I had been thinking I would probably stand down, but I think the next term will be one of the most important in Christchurch's history and I would like to be there and be part of it."

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Button represents the Shirley-Papanui ward along with Aaron Keown, who will stand again.

He has previously stood for the mayoralty but has ruled out challenging Bob Parker for the job this year, saying he is "happy enough" with Parker's performance.

"I would only run for mayor if Bob died in office and I didn't like who else was putting their hand up. Then I would do it; not for my own interests, but in the interests of the city," he said.

He cautioned the public against making too many changes to the makeup of the council, saying that, if too many inexperienced candidates were elected, it could slow down the city's rebuild.

"Don't get sucked in by emotion and dump the council when things are, by and large, going right."

Hagley-Ferrymead councillor Tim Carter, who is tipped to be a mayoral challenger, said he would seek re-election in "some form".

The other councillor eying the mayoralty, Glenn Livingstone, said he wanted to be around the council table after October's elections, either as a councillor or as mayor.

The other councillors who have confirmed they will seek re-election are Helen Broughton (Riccarton-Wigram), Jimmy Chen (Riccarton-Wigram), Yani Johanson (Hagley-Ferrymead), and Jamie Gough (Fendalton-Waimairi).

- The Press

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