'This happened on my watch' - Parker
A relaxed Bob Parker has mingled with Christchurch citizens in the heart of the city just hours after revealing he will quit the mayoralty later this year.
Several people approached him and wife Jo Nicholls-Parker as they wandered through Cathedral Square before he officially re-opened the area for the first time since it was shut off after the February 2011 earthquake.
His presence attracted strong media interest and he ended up giving an impromptu press conference in the middle of the Square where he outlined the key reasons for his decision not to seek a third term in the top job.
With his wife by his side, he said the last three years, but particularly the recent consenting crisis to strike the council, were the main reasons for stepping aside.
''I am just not prepared to expose myself, my wife, my family to that level of pressure and criticism. I feel I have worked hard and done my best.''
''Now is the time to step aside and let someone fresh come in.''
Parker said he needed to step up and ''take responsibilty'' for the consenting controversy which flared up two weeks ago when the council lost its accerditation to issue building consents - a key function of any council.
That had happened ''on my watch,'' Parker said and it was part of good governance and good leadership that he should lead from the front.
''But I'm also pretty tired. It has been non-stop and all the added stress, it has been a really hard time and it's time for a fresh start.''
But he was not done just yet.
Parker said he wanted to ''bury myself''' in hard work until the October elections and set up the new council well.
Restoring consenting powers was an urgent priority but he also wanted to see decisions around the Town Hall and other council facilities resolved before he finishes.
Not having to worry about campaigning meant he could solely focus on those important projects, he said.
About 300 people, including politicians, the Wizard and businesspeople, walked through the Square to watch Parker officially re-open the central city gathering place.
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