Jim Anderton MP wants to be 'people's mayor' as well
Progressive Party leader Jim Anderton has confirmed he will stand for election as mayor of Christchurch in October, and says if he wins he won't retire from Parliament until next year's general election.
The 72-year-old Wigram MP said today he wasn't prepared to complain about Christchurch issues any longer without trying to do something about them.
"I am therefore officially announcing that I will be a candidate for the Christchurch mayoralty in the October local body elections," he told a meeting in the city.
"I will be standing as 'Jim Anderton - the People's Mayor'."
Mr Anderton is the Progressive's only MP and his retirement from Parliament will almost certainly mark the end of the party.
It is already winding down, with its members free to join Labour if they want to.
He is part of the Labour team in Parliament and Wigram should be a safe Labour seat in 2011.
Mr Anderton said he wasn't going to resign his seat if he was elected mayor because he didn't want to cause a by-election that would cost about $600,000 and wouldn't be held until early next year anyway.
"A few months of parliamentary representation is not worth $600,000 of public money," he said.
"I would not accept two salaries and would donate the higher mayoral salary to local voluntary organisations."
Mr Anderton said no one should doubt he could do the jobs of mayor and MP at the same time.
"You are asking that question of someone who worked 17-hour days, six days a week as a minister for nine years."
He made a scathing attack on the council and Mayor Bob Parker, who is going to run again.
"Christchurch City Council has declared war on its most vulnerable citizens and the mayor and many councillors are either unaware of what they are doing or couldn't care less," he said.
"The mayor and many councillors show time after time that they are out of touch with their community."
Mr Anderton made light of a cartoon in The Press newspaper which showed him with a mug of Milo and a walking stick.
"I didn't mind the mug of Milo but I thought the walking stick was a bit over the top," he said.
"If any of my mayoral opponents really believe that I am an infirm, retired veteran they will be in for a real shock by the time we get to election day in five months' time."