Buck runs as an independent candidate

MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 05:00 26/06/2013

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Vicki Buck is attempting a political comeback after 15 years.

The former three-term Christchurch mayor yesterday confirmed she would seek election as a Riccarton-Wigram ward councillor in October's local body elections.

Speculation has mounted since Buck was this month spotted with mayoral hopeful Lianne Dalziel and former mayor Garry Moore, her successor in 1998, who hinted at a return too, but has since ruled himself out.

"I wasn't confident I was going to [run], otherwise I would have just said," Buck said.

"I vowed when I stepped down as mayor never to interfere in the council, and I haven't. I never imagined I would go back into something like this because there are so many other things I love doing and get excited about."

Sounding out others to potentially run was the catalyst to make a call on her own candidacy, Buck said.

She first ran for council in 1975, aged 19.

She has opted to try to depose either Helen Broughton or Jimmy Chen in Riccarton-Wigram, where she has lived for more than 15 years, rather than targeting a vacant seat.

"It would be wrong of me to suggest to a whole lot of other people they would like to stand without being prepared to roll my sleeves up and get in there."

She will campaign independently - despite backing Labour MP Dalziel's mayoral tilt - and has ruled out becoming deputy mayor if elected.

Buck said she was not a "political party person", having quit her Labour membership more than 20 years ago.

"I'm not in any way joining any political party and I can't imagine that I ever will."

It would be "crazy" for the new-look council to indulge in party politics, Buck said.

"If you look at it logically, what is the left or right view on sewer renewal, footpath repair or bike lanes? I can't find a place for it."

The council's finances and lack of community engagement were among her main concerns.

One of her aims would be to get a council, much smaller than when she was mayor, working together.

There was "no opportunity to waste the talent that is around the table", she said.

"There is no shortage of work to do in Christchurch at the moment, so there's no excuse for anyone to be under-employed on the council.

"I'm not dissing [disrespecting] the mayor or councillors. I think people do walk over hot coals to get elected. There is a degree of guts required."

Buck will not be resting on the laurels of her mayoral legacy during the campaign.

"People have clear choices now and they'll make those choices based on a whole myriad of reasons," she said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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