A farmer from Kaharoa is the latest candidate to join the Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers Association's council contenders.

Lachlan McKenzie has been endorsed by the association's financial members as a councillor candidate for the 2019 local body elections after Peter Jones split from the group at the end of June.

McKenzie said, if elected, his top priority would be to improve efficiencies within the council, minimise rates rises, reform infrastructure expenditure, reduce the dependency on debt growth and cut waste.

He was announced as an endorsed candidate on Tuesday and association chairwoman Glenys Searancke described McKenzie as "an impressive potential spokesperson for the rural sector on council".

Endorsed candidates Lachlan McKenzie (left), Linda Rowbotham, Conan O'Brien, Peter Bentley Reynold Macpherson and Raj Kumar. Photo / Supplied
Endorsed candidates Lachlan McKenzie (left), Linda Rowbotham, Conan O'Brien, Peter Bentley Reynold Macpherson and Raj Kumar. Photo / Supplied

McKenzie was raised on a farm, studied agricultural science, worked in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and started his own farming businesses. He has farmed in Kaharoa for 25 years.

Secretary Reynold Macpherson said the association's members were also "impressed by his focus on improving the quality of district governance by ensuring all groups in our community are listened to and respected".

"He wants council to adopt a culture of public service so that our community prospers."

McKenzie has previously spent time on the Federated Farmers national board and advised Rotorua Lakes Council on economic development and central government on small business enterprise and land and water sustainability.

He replaces Peter Jones who resigned from the association to run as an independent candidate on June 30.

Jones was the third of the association's original seven council candidates to withdraw from running for the council on behalf of the association. In April Wilhelmina Mohi withdrew completely and Kevin Coutts decided to run independently.

Jones told the Rotorua Daily Post he always intended to run independently.

"I always believed an endorsement was just that and that I would be free to campaign as an independent, supporting their aims whenever I could.


"We have similar priorities, rates – control, debt – reduce and infrastructure – renew. Unfortunately, there was a clash of management style."

At the time, Macpherson and Searancke said they had accepted Jones' resignation "with regret".

"He decided to run as an independent which is inconsistent with his endorsement oath to members and our constitution which requires a team campaign," their statement said.

The Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers Association has now officially endorsed six council candidates for the October 12 elections.

They are incumbent councillors Peter Bentley and Raj Kumar, councillor-hopefuls Lachlan McKenzie, Linda Rowbotham, Conan O'Brien and Reynold Macpherson, who is running for mayor.

Nominations for local body election candidates open on July 19 and run until August 16.

The candidates will be officially named on August 21.