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Invercargill's Sir Tim Shadbolt, NZ's longest serving mayor, says decision to run again was no-brainer

After 21 years in charge, is Sir Tim Shadbolt's time at the top about to come to an abrupt end?

The Invercargill mayor, New Zealand's longest serving mayor, confirmed the decision to run in this year's local body election at age 72 was a no-brainer.

"I was thinking of retiring at the last elections, but then I heard if you die in office the council have to pay for your funeral," Sir Tim jokes.

Sir Tim has held the job since 1998, winning seven elections in a row. However, this year he faces his sternest challenge.

Running against him is current deputy mayor Rebecca Amundsen and former deputy mayor Darren Ludlow.

"Certainly, the feedback I'm getting from talking to people around the city is that people realise it's time for a change and that they really do want change now," says Ms Amundsen.

"Well, they would say that, wouldn't they, because they're challenging me for the mayoralty, the two main leaders," Sir Tim responded.

Sir Tim's recently been criticised in the media by other councillors, with several saying he appears confused and struggles to follow what's happening when chairing city council meetings.

He disputes these claims, though, saying he's as keen as ever to run the southern city.

"There are battles to be fought and when it comes to taking on government, I'm pretty experienced."

Whoever gets the job, they'll certainly have their hands full over the coming years, with several multi-million dollar redevelopments planned for the southern city.

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The pressure is on for Sir Tim, whose being told by those who want his job he’s no longer up to it. Source: 1 NEWS