5 Jul 2013

Parker won't stand for re-election as mayor

10:09 pm on 5 July 2013

Christchurch's mayor since 2007 will not seek re-election in October. Bob Parker says he is exhausted after six years in office and can't sustain the stress of the job for another term.

Bob Parker says Christchurch deserves to have a fresh start.

Bob Parker says Christchurch deserves to have a fresh start. Photo: RNZ

The past three years of his mayoralty have been dominated by the Christchurch earthquakes including the fatal and devastating February 2011 tremor which severely damaged the South Island city.

Mr Parker said on Friday night that the people of Christchurch need someone with enough energy and drive to lead them through the rebuild. He said the decision not to stand again was difficult, but he had to think of his well-being and of those closest to him.

In an interview with TV3's Campbell Live, the mayor said like many people in the city, he is deeply tired.

"I really don't feel I've got it in me to sustain another three years of the kind of stuff that we've had to work our way through this three years. And I think the city does actually deserve a fresh start - I think it's psychologically really important for us."

Bob Parker's announcement caps a turbulent week for the Christchurch City Council, which is to lose its building consents accreditation on 8 July after an International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) report said it granted consents that are potentially dangerous.

The Government has appointed a Crown manager to help sort out the crisis from mid-July until December 2014 at the latest.

On Wednesday Mr Parker said he wasn't told about the severity of the consents problem until the previous day and laid the blame with council chief executive Tony Marryatt, who has been put on leave.

An extraordinary meeting of the council on Thursday voted unanimously to ask that the Crown manager be installed to oversee the consents department, and questions were raised over the quality of the leadership of the council.

Mr Parker said the past few weeks have been "particularly difficult" and told TV3 he has to face up to his part in that.

"There is a question, I think, in the minds of the community around some of the recent happenings at council. And I think as the leader on the governance side, I have a responsibility as well to accept that whether I did everything I could or whether there were things that I should have done that I didn't do."

Mr Parker said he hoped to find a new role in which he could keep contributing to the city.

In June, Labour MP for Christchurch East Lianne Dalziel launched her campaign for the mayoralty, saying the culture within the council needs to change. She is the only declared candidate.