No contest for some candidates

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JOHN.COSGROVE@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

If you get re-elected without any opposition does it mean voters are less interested about local government, or is it an endorsement of three years’ hard work and a renewed vote of confidence for the future?

Incumbent Clutha district councillor Alison Ludemann would like to believe it is the latter.

She was elected unopposed in the Balclutha ward and feels it would have been nice to have had an election.

“You do expect that others would stand but when you find out it’s not going to happen then I guess it can be a bit of a let-down, but that’s when you should look at it as an endorsement of your work to date.

“I like to think that people are happy with the direction that council is currently taking,” she said.

Mrs Ludemann said she would continue her plans for the future of the district.

“We have always focused on the living and the working. We have got to, as we have got so many good things going on at the moment with the new BP, Plantation Heights and the industrial park.

“I’m heavily involved in the town hall project, the Naish and Centennial parks redevelopment, and then we have to look at Milton and other areas and help them develop.

“We are here to hopefully make our district grow and be a place where people want to come and live, work and visit.”

“We have to make sure all the infrastructure is in place. We are not there to have great rate rises; we have to be there for our core businesses,” Mrs Ludemann said.

“We have some big projects that are going to be reliant on community funding.

” It’s not a council hand out; we have to encourage people to take ownership of their own town and district, and be proud of it and want to help it grow.”

Jo-anne Thomson was surprised when she found no-one was standing against her for the Clinton ward seat on the council.

“I was a little surprised that it was unopposed,” she said.

However, while this is her first term occupying the Clinton seat, Mrs Thomson is no newcomer to council machinations – she was a Balclutha ward councillor two elections ago.

“I plan to get up to speed quickly on what’s happening at council. I want to see where a lot of the major projects have reached as they were just being talked about in long-term plans when I was last on the council,” she said.

The Clinton businesswomen said her focus would be on seeing what plans could be formulated for Clinton’s future.

“Everyone else has had a makeover so I want to get some ideas for Clinton to make things happen down here,” she said.

Clutha district has experienced a quiet election season with many representatives returning unopposed.

Those left fighting for an endorsement by voters are in the Bruce ward which has four candidates standing for three seats; the Catlins ward, with two candidates vying for one seat; and the Lawrence-Tuapeka ward which has two interested in representing the people for the one seat on offer.

The West Otago Community Board is the only community board to gain its required number of candidates.

Mayor Bryan Cadogan, also re-elected unopposed, gave this piece of advice to the many incumbent and new councillors.

“As a councillor it is critical to not alienate yourself or become entrenched, democracy can be brutal at times and you most definitely have to learn how to move on after losing a vote, accepting the will of the majority is a skill that is often hard learnt but ultimately necessary to survival and sanity.”

Tomorrow and over the next five voting papers for the Clutha District Council and Otago Regional Council triennial local body elections will be dropped in mail boxes.

See our Local Body Elections supplement on pages 14 and 15 to see what seats are contested and who is standing.

Voting closes on October 12.