New Zealand’s longest-serving councillor is on track to notch up half a century in public office – provided voters give him the tick once again this year.
Grey District Council deputy mayor Doug Truman, 76, was first elected to a local authority in 1968, and plans to run for another three-year term in October’s local body elections.
His 48 years in office to date make him by far the country’s longest-serving councillor, according to information compiled by the Taxpayers’ Union.
I’m a believer that you go in to achieve a few things, and then give someone else a go.
Taxpayers’ Union researcher Matthew Rhodes said the figures showed turnover at councils varied greatly. The longest-serving councillor on Westland District Council had been there for only seven years.
“Whilst we all recognise the need for organisations to have long-standing personnel with institutional knowledge, we think these figures suggest that it is timely to look at implementing term limits at local councils.
“If you’ve been on a council for six terms – 18 years – and you haven’t yet achieved what you set out to, it seems unlikely that you will do it by staying on council for another 18 years.”
LONGEST-SERVING COUNCILLORS (WELLINGTON AREA)
Wellington City Council – Helene Ritchie (30 years)
Kapiti Coast District Council – Diane Ammundsen (30 years)
Porirua City Council – John Burke (30 years)
Hutt City Council – Margaret Cousins (30 years)
Hastings District Council – Lawrence Yule, Cynthia Bowers (21 years)
Greater Wellington Regional Council – Chris Laidlaw, Sandra Greig (18 years)
Napier City Council – Mark Herbert (18 years)
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council – Christine Scott (15 years)
Upper Hutt City Council – John Gwilliam (12 years)