Matthew Theunissen

Matthew Theunissen is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

MP confirms tilt at Christchurch mayoralty

Lianne Dalziel. Photo / The Star
Lianne Dalziel. Photo / The Star

Labour MP Lianne Dalziel has confirmed she'll run for the Christchurch mayoralty, saying she can offer 'effective and inclusive' leadership.

The Christchurch East MP had previously ruled out standing as mayor in the local body elections, due to be held in October.

However, after much speculation, she has confirmed this morning she'll run.

'Well it's official now - I'm running for the Christchurch Mayoralty.' she tweeted.

She says she has much to offer the people of Christchurch.

"People have told me that they're looking for effective and inclusive leadership. That inclusive side of things is what people think I can bring to the table in terms of building a team. This council's been marred by this A team, B team analogy when there really is only room for one team.''

She said her ability to work with central government made her right for the job.

"Straight after a disaster, the response is like the sprint. I guess the recovery is the marathon, and that requires trusted relationships and that requires both central government and local government to be working as an effective coalition.

"If there's one thing that's been missing from the whole recovery it's been a sense of involving the people in the decision making and I think that's something I can bring to the city.''

She would not be standing down from her roles in parliament immediately but would resign by the time the votes were counted.

"I really would like to give my valedictory speech on September 4, which would be the three year anniversary of the earthquake ... My role as MP for Christchurch East could end the day before the votes are counted.''

Dalziel, who has previously asked Student Volunteer Army founder and National Party member Sam Johnson to stand on her ticket, said she would not have a running mate.

"As a Labour MP for 23 years, I wanted to make it pretty clear that my candidacy was not going to be party political and I'm not going to be running as a Labour candidate and I felt that I had to demonstrate that in a very clear way [by asking Johnson].''

Incumbent mayor Bob Parker told TV3's Firstline programme this morning that he welcomed the competition.

"It's a contest now, and that's got to be healthy for the city,'' he said.

"I think the reality is there are two candidates so far who are both capable of doing the job, and people therefore have a chance to choose on a number of the other issues that will be important to them.''

Dalziel's decision will mean a byelection in her electorate, which has been a safe Labour seat and which she held with a 5334 majority.

However, the seat may not exist by the 2014 general election - her electorate was hardest hit by the Christchurch earthquakes and significant changes are likely when the Electoral Commission redraws boundaries this year.

- NZ Herald

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