Carterton councillor quits, byelection imminent

7:41 pm on 1 February 2021

A by-election is imminent in Carterton after councillor Steffen Bertram resigned 15 months into his first term.

Steffen Bertram resigned as a councillor in Carterton on Monday.

Steffen Bertram resigned as a councillor in Carterton on Monday. Photo: Supplied

Bertram, a central government policy advisor, was one of five new representatives elected in 2019.

He earned the third-highest vote count behind only Jill Greathead and eventual Deputy Mayor Rebecca Vergunst.

But he said the Covid-19 outbreak had raised extra demands on his work time, making it increasingly difficult to balance council commitments.

"I am leaving the district at a time when it is in a very good financial position and with an effective management team who work well with the governance group," Bertram said.

He had already stood down as chair of the arts, culture and heritage committee at a council meeting last week.

Bertram said he would continue in his role as a volunteer firefighter in Carterton.

Mayor Greg Lang said the news was "disappointing", but he was confident the decision was made with "the community's best interests at heart."

"This year will be a busy year for the council, with big decisions needed to be made ranging from the government's reform of water services delivery to working with other councils on regional growth.

"I am disappointed for Steffen as I know he was very keen to serve the Carterton community in his councillor role, and that an unforeseen change in circumstances meant he was no longer able to continue in that role."

A vote for a replacement must take place within 89 days.

A contested election would cost about $28,000. CDC has a contingency fund of more than $40,000 for snap elections.

Carterton's last by-election was 2015.

Russell Keys was elected to fill the gap after John Booth replaced Ron Mark as Mayor. Mark resigned in 2014, after his election to Parliament.

The last councillor to resign was Tracey O'Callaghan, who stepped down eight months before the 2019 election.

The new councillor will serve for the rest of the triennium, with elections by October 2022.

Nominations open on Thursday, 4 February and close on Thursday, 4 March.

The top 10 polling councillor candidates in the 2019 Carterton elections:

  • 1. Jill Greathead 2077
  • 2. Rebecca Vergunst 1994
  • 3. Steffen Bertram 1984
  • 4. Robyn Cherry-Campbell 1863
  • 5. Rob Stockley 1808
  • 6. Russell Keys 1750
  • 7. Steve Cretney 1732
  • 8. Brian Deller 1496
  • 9. Ruth Carter 1395
  • 10. Dale Williams 1342
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