Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese seeking leadership role at Local Government NZ

Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese has announced she'll be throwing her hat in the ring for president of Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ).

LGNZ has a national council of 13 elected members from across New Zealand, who aim to represent the national interests of councils. It's involved with both advocacy and policy services, giving advice and training to local government members across the country.

Current president Lawrence Yule, who's the Mayor of Hastings, has come to the end of his term and a new president and vice president will be elected next month.

Reese told Nelson City Councillors she had been approached "some time ago" and had given it a lot of thought as to how it would work for both her, personally, and for Nelson.

Reese said fellow LGNZ national council members, Wellington Mayor Justin Lester and Matamata-Piako Mayor Jan Barnes, had nominated her. She'll be up against Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull at an election at LGNZ's AGM at the end of July.

"It will be a hotly contested election, as it should be," Reese said.

She told councillors she'd often spoken of her passion for local democracy and she felt their roles in local government were going to become "more and more important" as communities around New Zealand tackled big issues.

Nelson City Councillor Mel Courtney said he wanted to wish Reese well in the endeavour, describing her as a "strong woman".

"Local Government New Zealand has often spoken of promoting women and this is its chance," Courtney said.

He said she had both intelligence and compassion, and Nelson would be well served if she were in the role. 

Nods of acknowledgement from councillors seemed to indicate support around the table for Reese.

 - Stuff

HANNAH BARTLETT

Last updated 13:20, June 8 2017