After nine years in the job, Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel announced this morning she won’t be seeking a fourth term in the 2022 election.
The three-term Mayor said without her husband Rob Davidson, who died last year aged 69 from prostate cancer, she didn’t feel she could run again.
“It is time for a new direction in my life. I don’t know where this will lead, but I will always be proud of what has been achieved, and the firm foundation for the future that we have built together,” Dalziel said.
The 61-year-old, formerly a Labour Cabinet minister, said she entered local government in 2013 having inherited a large “financial challenge” in the years after the 2011 earthquakes.
“It started with a $400 million hole in the budget and the loss of accreditation to issue building consents in the biggest rebuild the country has ever faced,” she said.
“We have turned a corner, and everyone can see that we are becoming the city of choice for the future.”
Dalziel reflected on the challenges Christchurch faced while in the top job.
“We then had the floods. The Mayoral Taskforce we established in response has guided us as we have systematically tackled each element of the vulnerabilities we were exposed to. It was extremely gratifying seeing no homes flooded in the recent event – it has been a big investment, but it is paying off.
“The Port Hills Fires were also tragic, reminding us of the dangers that come with residential proximity to rural environments.
“Being Mayor at the time of the mosque shootings and standing alongside our Muslim communities was devastating, but also uplifting. The incredible Muslim leaders who spoke of unity, peace and compassion, as well as offering forgiveness, were incredibly moving,” she said.
Dalziel said she was proud of the response from the community after March 15, 2019.
“The thousands who turned up at the Call to Prayer one week later sent a powerful message to the Muslim community: ‘We have got your back.’”
She said she was “deeply proud” of the relationships she had helped build across the region, particularly with mana whenua.
“If we have learned anything from our experience over the past decade, it is that true collaboration is the only way to achieve the best results,” Dalziel said.
There were still issues the city faced, she added.
“This is never more important than it is now as we face a massive reform programme – three waters reform, Resource Management Act reform, National Policy Statement – Urban Development, the Future for Local Government Review, to name a few.
“At the same time, we are taking on the challenges of an uncertain future, including the impacts of climate change and advances in technology.”
Deputy Mayor Andrew Turner, councillor James Gough and councillor Phil Mauger indicated last month they were considering running for Mayor.
Councillor Sara Templeton and councillor Mike Davidson said they wouldn't rule out a tilt at the top job.