The Press reports:
Christchurch’s mayoralty race could soon take a dramatic turn with rumours swirling that incumbent Bob Parker may not run.
Parker, who late last year confirmed he would seek a third term as mayor, has been sounding out city leaders lately, asking whether they thought he could win if Christchurch East MP Lianne Dalziel stood against him.
The popular Labour MP is widely tipped to run in October’s election and yesterday said she would announce her “decision” later this month.
The city’s mayoralty race has been non-existent so far with Parker the only confirmed candidate. Yesterday, he denied any suggestion he would stand down, claiming that was purely what his opponents wanted to hear.
It is thought Parker received mixed feedback from those he consulted.
Polling done by his political rivals shows Dalziel holding a narrow lead against him and it is thought these results prompted the Parker rethink.
But his loyal deputy Ngaire Button strongly denied any talk of Parker quitting. “That [rumour] is completely fanciful. Bob has told me he is running.”
Earlier last week, Button hosted a group of “independent” candidates she will soon unveil to stand across the city. The, group, to be called City First, fuelled rumours Parker could endorse Button for the mayoralty and slip out of the political landscape on his own terms.
She did little to dampen down that talk yesterday, saying the idea of Parker endorsing her for the mayoralty was “a scenario that could work out in time . . . but I have not thought about it”.
Bob Parker led the city very well through the initial crisis of earthquake. But he does run the risk of ending up like Winston Churchill in 1950 – the public grateful for the efforts, but wanting a change.
Would it be better to go out on top after two terms, than risk losing to Dalziel?