Dannevirke real estate agent Kerry Sutherland was just 11 votes short of a seat on the Tararua District Council at the last local body elections in 2016, but next month he will take up the seat left vacant by Ernie Christison.

Tararua District mayor Tracey Collis said the appointment was about sharing the workload.

"I had to cancel a council workshop on Tuesday because of the risk of low numbers, so leaving the seat vacant poses risks," she said.

"This is about the workload and what it would do to our councillors and me, the mayor. I don't think I can cope with that as it will be a very busy period over the next eight or nine months."


Collis said the workload and pressure on her and councillors would be too much if Christison wasn't replaced in the run up to next year's local body elections.

The vote approving Sutherland's appointment was five to two, with councillors Alan Benbow and Peter Johns opposed.

Benbow said, although he considered Sutherland a very good candidate, he had serious concerns if the eight to nine-month appointment was a good use of ratepayer's money.

"I see the saving of $20,000 of ratepayer's money as quite an important issue," he said.

Councillor Johns said he felt much the same way.

"It will take time to bring him (Sutherland) up to speed and the district is now very much Tararua and so I don't think the north ward will suffer as a consequence if we don't appoint anyone," he said.

However, Collis said as Sutherland had previously been a district councillor and was a member of the district licensing committee, he has a working knowledge of council.

Sutherland told the Dannevirke News he had given his appointment a "bit of thought," and although not intending to stand at next year's local body elections, he was happy to put back into our district which has given him plenty.


"I think I can put a bit in, I'll just roll up my sleeves and add some value," he said.

Acknowledging there were a couple of councillors concerned about his ability to come up to speed, Sutherland said that would normally be the case, but he thought he could slot in as he'd previously spent six years on council and was previously the chairman of the Scanpower Consumer Trust.