Rangitikei District mayor Andy Watson is unopposed as an election season begins that will see the rest of Rangitikei District Council in for a shake-up.

Due to no other mayoral nominations, Watson will retain the position of mayor for the next three years. It will be his third term as mayor.

Watson said he is delighted to be in for another term and it will allow him to get on with a more strategic planning process for the new council and future and ongoing projects.

"It's great, you don't have to go through the electioneering stage, spend money and yes you sort of read into it, it's more about where the district's at than anything else," Watson said.


Watson said he is looking forward to seeing a number of projects completed, including the Bulls Community Centre due to it being in the final stage of the build and the community involvement that has been behind it.

"We have to replicate that process in Marton and Taihape and we are building a new facility that we promised on Memorial Park in Taihape that will deliver sport and amenities and a major sewage upgrade and water upgrade so it's an extensive list," Watson said.

Projects such as the Mangaweka bridge replacement, the rural water scheme and the new industrial district plan change will be an extensive and promising work programme for the new council, Watson said.

Several long-term councillors have decided not to seek re-election for the next term.

Longest-serving councillor Lynne Sheridan, as well as former deputy mayor Dean McManaway and councillors Ruth Rainey, Richard Aslett, Soraya Peke-Mason and Graeme Platt, will leave at the end of the current council's term.

Watson said all councillors who are leaving are doing so for personal reasons, be it spending time with grandchildren or moving out of the district.

Twenty-seven candidates, including 22 newcomers, are standing for election.

Councillor Angus Gordon is standing again for the Northern ward alongside newcomers Owen Bonnor, Gill Duncan and Tracey Hiroa.


For the Southern ward, councillor Jane Dunn is standing again as well as Brian Carter, Bronwyn Meads, Waru Panapa and Paul Sharland.

Watson said elections are a democratic process and what he is seeing in the three wards is a very healthy mix.

"There are some very strong candidates in the mix."

Deputy mayor Nigel Belsham is standing for another term alongside fellow councillors Cath Ash and Dave Wilson for the Central Ward.

Fiona Dalgety, Sandra Field, Bryan Hamerton, Richard Lambert, Coral Raukawa-Manuel and Peter J Woolston are also standing for the Central ward.

For the Ratana and Taihape community boards, nine new faces are set to fill the seats.

Lequan Meihana, Charlie Mete, Jemal Rivers Nepia, Waru Panapa and Charlie Rourangi are standing for Ratana, with five vacancies to fill.

For the Taihape Community Board, Ann Abernethy, Emma Abernethy, Michelle Yvette Fannin and Gail Larsen are standing.

Watson advised newcomers running for office not to be parochial.

"You're there to represent the entire district and I don't think that will be an issue looking at the names but because you're a ward councillor, you have to understand what's happening in all areas to make the best decisions possible."

Watson also said elected members should never invent an answer and could tell people they would get back to them if they didn't know the answer, but they should always follow through.