17 Aug 2013

Christchurch council in for new faces

3:08 pm on 17 August 2013

A major shakeup is looming for Christchurch City Council following confirmation that five current councillors are not seeking re-election in October.

Nominations for the local body elections closed on Friday, with 12 candidates registered for the Christchurch mayoralty and 55 for councillor roles.

Current councillors Sue Wells, Barry Corbett, Tim Carter, Peter Beck and Sally Buck have all left their names off the nomination list.

The departure of Ms Wells and Mr Corbett, who first won their seats in 1998, leaves the Spreydon-Heathcote ward wide open.

Ms Wells says she needs a break after 18 years in local government, 15 of them on the city council.

She says the council has decisions to make that none of the country's other councils have to face, so voters need to closely examine the background and skills of candidates.

Ms Wells says electing a divided council would be a disaster for the rebuilding of Christchurch.

Mr Corbett says he is leaving because five terms in office is long enough.

He says fresh blood should be good for the council.

As for the new nominations, some familiar Christchurch faces have thrown their hats in the ring.

Central City Business Association manager Paul Lonsdale is contesting the mayoralty alongside Labour Party MP Lianne Dalziel.

The incumbent mayor, Bob Parker, isn't seeking re-election.

Former mayor Vicki Buck wants to return to the council, seeking election as a city councillor.

Three uncontested council seats in Auckland

Local Government New Zealand says three council seats going uncontested in Auckland shows locals are generally happy with how the super city is being run.

Nominations for October's local body elections closed on Friday, and the organisation is analysing candidate information.

Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule says it's unusual that three Auckland councillors will be re-elected unopposed, given this is the first election since the region's councils combined in 2010.

Mr Yule says if people were unhappy with the council, those seats would have been fought for.

He says he's expecting voter turnout to be about the same as three years ago, at roughly 40%.