Five-term Matamata Piako mayor Hugh Vercoe is to stand down from the role to take a tilt at a regional council seat in the Ocotober elections.
Mr Vercoe will seek election to one of two seats on the Waikato Regional Council in the ward representing part of Hauraki, all of Matamata Piako and the South Waikato districts.
Mr Vercoe is one of the Waikato's longest serving mayors and has been a key figure in debate over local government reform for the region, having risen to leader of the region's mayoral forum.
Announcing his decision today, Mr Vercoe said: "I have enjoyed 15 wonderful years as Mayor of an incredibly forward-thinking and progressive district and I am grateful for the support shown to me.
"But after five terms I felt the time was right to stand aside and to allow voters the opportunity to select a new leader of council.
"One of those challenges a new Mayor and council will face is the Government reform of local government.
"Protecting the interests of Matamata and Piako residents will be a priority."
"By making my decision public at this early stage, this will enable those interested in becoming Mayor to consider their options and to start their campaigns for office.
He said a regional council seat would allow him to continue his work with regional civil defence as well as having input into the future changes within local government.
While he retains his dairy and beef farming interests and financial services company, his role in these is now at a director level.
He believes his experience as a long-term Mayor has equipped him with the skills to make a strong contribution on the Waikato Regional Council.
"I bring with me a life-time involvement in farming and understanding of rural communities and that will be an asset to WRC."
Mr Vercoe acknowledged he would have to work hard to build a profile in the South Waikato district where he is not well known.
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