22 Jan 2018

Only two candidates for Coast by-election

3:34 pm on 22 January 2018

Demands on councillors may be why a forthcoming by-election has attracted just two candidates, the mayor of Buller District says.

Garry Howard said Westport had some features that made it more susceptible to the effects of climate change.

Buller Mayor Garry Howard said he was expecting a number of candidates to put their names forward for the by-election. Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

Two women are seeking election to the council's Seddon Ward in the by-election prompted by the sudden departure of Martin Hill.

Community advocate Rosalie Sampson and Westport businesswoman Raewyn Fern are the two candidates to have put their names forward.

Candidates are required to be New Zealand citizens and it was discovered late last year that Mr Hill, who is Australian, did not have New Zealand citizenship.

Mr Hill told The Westport News at the time that he had believed Australia and New Zealand had reciprocal rights. He received 306 votes when he won the Seddon Ward in 2016.

The Buller mayor Garry Howard had expected greater interest in the by-election.

"I did anticipate that we would have a number of candidates for this by-election, but I appreciate that the commitment to council is fairly onerous now, in the number of meetings and the amount of reading and the work that's associated with being a councillor," he said.

Ms Sampson said she had the time to commit to the role and she said a pending rates overhaul was among the council's biggest challenges.

Ms Fern owns and manages a fabric and fibre store in Westport, and has a background in information technology, project management and small business management.

Voting papers are to be delivered from this Friday, which is when voting begins, and close on Saturday 17 February.

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