Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt. Photo / Gregor Richardson
Sir Tim Shadbolt admits being elected for another term as Invercargill’s mayor is a long shot, but he’s not going down without a fight.
There are 10 candidates vying for the city’s top job in one of the hottest contests in the regions.
There’s no denying the past few years have been challenging for Shadbolt, Newstalk ZB reporter Georgia O’Connor-Harding told the Herald’s political podcast On The Tiles- Local Edition.
“His ability to run council meetings has been under scrutiny and he’s faced criticism from fellow councillors. Plus there was the independent Thomson report which found there was a leadership void as a result of him struggling to do key aspects of his role.”
O’Connor-Harding said councillors have also previously described the atmosphere of the council as toxic, not to mention the fallout from Shadbolt storing personal items in council-owned buildings across the city.
Shadbolt is not running a mayor-or-nothing campaign and is also going for a
While Shadbolt was a no-show at a recent Southland Business Chamber mayoral debate, O’Connor-Harding said he wasn’t going down without a fight.
A statement was read out on his behalf in which he took aim at his own council over long-running conflict around the table, O’Connor-Harding said.
“He said not every person has the bravery to swim against the tide and be the lone voice in the room when they see an injustice.”
On the flip side, Shadbolt had told the public if they won’t accept him as the mayor for another term, they should vote for radical change, O’Connor-Harding said.
Those who are vying to replace Shadbolt include Newstalk ZB talkback host Marcus Lush, current deputy mayor Nobby Clark, city councillor Darren Ludlow, and former deputy mayor Toni Biddle.
O’Connor-Harding said candidates were talking about unity on the campaign trail as well as how to attract people to the city and keep them there.
If Shadbolt lost, it would be bittersweet for the people of Invercargill because he had been in the role for so long, O’Connor-Harding said.
“But I think the key thing that’s come through, and it’s been well publicised, is that he’s always been a great believer in democracy and he’ll let the people decide if the time is right for him to go.”