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Progressive Party leader Jim Anderton has announced he will stand down as MP for the Christchurch electorate of Wigram if he is elected as Christchurch Mayor.

Until now Mr Anderton had maintained he could do both jobs, however, he said this afternoon the devastating earthquake that struck Christchurch nine days ago had changed that equation dramatically.

"It is perfectly reasonable for people to now question whether the earthquake has altered the balance of the challenge facing the city and my ability to manage the positions of both mayor and MP even if only for a short time.

"Christchurch and the whole Canterbury region will need leadership which is focused on the enormous task ahead of us. I am making it clear today that I am ready to give exactly that kind of leadership."

Prior to the earthquake, Mr Anderton had held a comfortable lead in the mayoralty poll.

But since the quake he has been overshadowed by the leadership of the incumbent mayor, Bob Parker.

Asked if he could still win the mayoralty, Mr Anderton said that if anyone knew how to get things done against the odds, it was him.

He told Newstalk ZB that Christchurch was in a fragile state and while Mr Parker had done a good job so far he had not utilised his council resources as fully as he should have.

A by-election will be held in the Wigram seat should Mr Anderton be elected as mayor and this would effectively spell the end of the Progressive Party.