CHB Mayor Peter Butler has had a change of heart and announced this week that he no longer intends to run for a third term at this year's local government elections.
It's a decision he came to after much thought, and the realisation that he may not be the person to continue to give the job the 110 per cent effort that was required.
"I will be nearly 70 at the end of the next local government term and after discussions with my family I've made the call to give someone else a go," he said.
"I was more worried about winning than losing, and what that would mean."
Elected to the top job in 2010 on the back of a campaign to reduce rate rises, he said he had accomplished this with an average 1.25 per cent rate increase over the last three years, with the support of councillors.
Despite the low increases, he said there had been gains with the development of facilities such as the CHB Municipal Theatre, Russell Park and the cycleways along the rivers.
An avid supporter of the dam, he acknowledged the challenges the next council will face if the water storage scheme goes ahead.
"The major issue will be the expense of expanding the infrastructure when CHB is swamped with all the extra people it brings to live in the district."
He also noted that the next mayor would need to be prepared for a big job.
"They must be able to attend an hour long meeting that lasts five hours, be in the office at the drop of a hat for a meeting with the deputy mayor, a councillor, the chief executive or one of five managers, not to mention one or more of the 13,000 residents."
Mr Butler has missed once council meeting only through illness and has been to almost every function he's been invited to.
"There are nights you go home on top of the world because you have had a big hand in solving some ratepayer's problem, but there are nights when you go home feeling like the whole district is against you."
He said his decision was not based on the prospect that it might be difficult to secure a third term.
"I fought tough battles in the last elections especially the last term, and I made gains in votes each time."
A personal highlight, he said, was successfully lobbying for a roundabout to be installed on Waipukurau's main street, although he was disappointed he could not do the same at the railway intersection at the other end of town, which is under the New Zealand Transport Agency's jurisdiction.
His departure from the race means there is now only one contendor for the mayoralty, Waipukurau business woman Alex Walker.
Other new faces vying for councillor positions who have so far announced they are running are Waipukurau retailer Gerard Minehan, and Tikokino farmer Tim Aitken.
Mr Butler thanked everyone who had supported him over the last six years, especially wife Jeanette and their family.