A Blenheim councillor has revealed his plans to become Marlborough’s youngest-ever mayor.
Just days before the cut off date for nominations, Jamie Arbuckle, 37, has announced his intent to take the top spot from Marlborough Mayor John Leggett.
The move follows an announcement by his wife Sally to run for a seat on council.
Jamie, who has run for the mayoralty three times previously, says he believes his nine years of experience will count in his favour this time.
“It is time for decisive leadership on key regional issues. I will deliver action on the issues that need addressing,” he says.
The councillor of nine years is calling for a Blenheim bypass and a reduction in rates.
He says financial hardship will be a problem faced by some constituents if rate rises continue.
“Rates are not sustainable or affordable. Marlborough has an ageing demographic of 65-plus, and many are on fixed incomes.
“With interest rates dropping near nil returns on savings, financial hardship and cashflow will be a real issue for some ratepayers.
“Plenty of reports come though council on the impact of increasing council rates but there’s never any action. I will change that.”
Jamie says plans for larger ferries will put more of a strain on Blenheim’s already congested main streets.
He believes the community needs to be consulted on all options before a decision is made.
“We need a bypass for Blenheim.
“Larger ferries mean more traffic heading our way. It is not a central government problem. It is ours.
“Removing all the carparks on Grove Road, Main Street and Nelson Street is not a long-term solution. With a government-funded business case we can consult with the community on all the options, with all the costs and facts,” he says.
Jamie says he has been considering running for mayor for a while.
Should he and his wife be successful in their election bids, it would be the first time a husband and wife have both served on council.
“Nothing can be taken for granted and in the next six weeks we will find out what is going to happen but we’ve both been very busy already.
“It won’t be a conflict of interest to me. Sally will represent Wairau-Awatere and I firmly believe that her attentions are the right ones.
“That’s what constituents should be voting on.
“There is a sense of urgency in the community on a number of issues.
“I feel the time is right for me to lead the region”.
Jamie joins current mayor John Leggett and first-time mayoral candidate Rick Ireland in the running for the mayoralty.