Christchurch mayor Bob Parker has all but abandoned the local body election campaign, saying he is too busy dealing with the aftermath of Canterbury's earthquake.
Mr Parker has taken part in no mayoral debates, although he may be available for a debate on local radio on Friday.
He's refused to debate with his main contender, Wigram MP Jim Anderton, saying voters have had plenty of opportunities to hear from the candidates.
"People have an opportunity to see their candidate performing in very important work at this time, so if I thought the debate would add more value to this occasion I would try to make more space available in our lives to do it."
Mr Anderton has accused the mayor of refusing to debate the issues affecting the city for political reasons, and says Mr Parker has a democratic responsibility to spell out his future plans for the city.
In neighbouring Waimakiriri, an area hit hard by the quake, mayoral candidates have engaged in four public debates.