Nelson’s current mayor Rachel Reese says the momentum she feels in the city is the strongest she has ever seen and wants to carry on leading it as mayor for a third term.
Rachel made the announcement last week, joining Mel Courtney, Bill Dahlberg and former councillor Mike Ward as candidates for mayor.
“I’m really excited about it. We are really seeing the work we have done over the last three years really come to fruition.”
She says that the city is starting to have a transformation, led by the closure of Upper Trafalgar St, which is helping Nelsonians think differently about the CBD.
Rachel says she is proud of what she has achieved and getting the recent annual plan through with nine votes was a good testament to that. While she thought the city gave its residents good value for money, the council was still a $1.5 billion operation.
“Everything of that scale means it doesn’t go right all the time and if it did then it would mean we weren’t stretching ourselves.”
She was disappointed that the Rocks Rd waterfront development had not progressed as quickly as hoped, due to the NZTA taking more time to come back with options on the future of the city’s transport.
Rachel says she hopes one of those options will be a new arterial route.
“It needs to be in a way that reduces emissions that provides the transport systems and networks that Nelsonians want. Whatever we do with the network, it has to be a well-designed solution that creates better places to live.”
She would not be drawn on what she thought of her opponents, or the fact that her ex-campaign manager Bill Dahlberg was running against her. She says her husband Richard Harden will be her campaign manager.
Rachel says she still enjoys the job, even though it is a 24/7 occupation.
“Ninety five percent of the role is thoroughly enjoyable. The other five percent I tolerate. But if you haven’t got lots of energy you shouldn’t be in the role.”
Other people putting their hand up to be councillor include Yvonne Bowater, Graeme O’Brien and Campbell Rollo.