Today South Taranaki District Mayor Ross Dunlop announced that he will not be standing for re-election at the upcoming October Local Authority elections.
Ross says he's put a lot of thought into the decision, and he believes the time is right to stand down.
"It's been an absolute privilege to have represented my community, but the time is right for me to stand aside and spend more time with the family and get stuck into those projects I've been putting off."
"I've dedicated a lot of my time and energy to my community, 21 years as a Councillor and 12 years as Mayor and now I think it's time to move on to other things," he says.
"What made the decision easier is that the Council is in very good heart. It's in a strong financial position, has clear plans for taking the district forward and has an effective team of governors and managers."
"The Hawera town centre revitalisation project is well advanced, and we have started the process of developing masterplans for our smaller town centres. Our population is on the increase and we are investigating the development of an Industrial Park. Since 2007 the Long Term Investment Fund has grown from $88 million to $145 million as well as contributed around $100 million towards subsidising rates and funding many community projects. We've continued to invest in our core infrastructure while keeping rate increases to a minimum. Our district pathways programme is progressing well, and I look forward to the day when I can cycle from Hawera to New Plymouth on an off-road trail. There really is a lot of momentum and many positive things happening across the district at the moment," says Ross.
"I'm also leaving behind a good team of councillors who work really well together. We have robust discussions, make decisions and move forward without the posturing and politics you see in so many other Councils."
"I'd like to thank our elected members, iwi representatives and staff for all the hard work they do on behalf of their community, in particular my Deputy Mayor, Phil Nixon who has been a terrific support."
"I've immensely enjoyed my time as Mayor and working with all the different members of our fantastic district. I've learnt a lot about people and really value the relationships that I've built up during this time."