It's Kerry again, but be warned

Kerry Prendergast has now confirmed the city's worst kept secret; she is going to run for a fourth term as mayor, and no doubt she will win. There is no one among the list of candidates announced so far who can see her off.

I confidently expect that based on what we know so far she will sweep in for a fourth term, and no doubt a damehood towards the end of that term - if not sooner. However her expected victory should not blind us to three other important factors about the council she has led for the last nine years.

One is that there needs to be some new faces around the table. Several of the veterans are tired and old and crotchety . Whatever contributions they may have been able to make have been made by now. I'm not naming names but voters will benefit by an infusion of fresh blood with new ideas, new perspectives and different experiences.

Second Kerry should not think that she is loved by all. The prospect of another relatively easy victory may look like an endorsement of what she stands for. That's partly true, but part of the reason for her expected victory is the lack of a credible alternative. She got a fright last time, and if there had been a single candidate around whom the opposition could have united, she would not have been re-elected. There wasn't then, and there isn't now.

Alan Probert, the vet will make a gallant but futile challenge, Celia Wade Brown will carry the green banner proudly, and Brian Pepperell will be Brian Pepperell. The Bob Jones ticket will fizzle unless he can find a credible candidate - and soon.

The one person who might give her a run would be Ray Aphene-Mercer, but who knows what his ambitions might be - perhaps the deputy mayor's job?

The third factor is the city's mounting debt, and the burden it presents to ratepayers. I am not one who thinks that the debt is unsustainable, but it is worth remembering that borrowing to build is not a cost free choice.

Every dollar that is borrowed incurs an interest charge which is met from the annual rates take. In other words, every dollar that has to be paid in interest is a dollar that cannot be spent on other things - like maintaining parks and recreation areas, on roads, community development, the arts and other events which make the city vibrant and attractive.

The higher the dollar amount of interest , the harder the choices become for other areas of council expenditure.   More high cost projects other than those already committed and budgeted for are hardly to be welcomed.

And a final thought; no candidate, mayoral or otherwise, should ignore the anger about the council's parking policies and the hyenas that it allows on the streets to plunder motorists at every opportunity. I'd like to see the regime changed and the wardens reined in, and many others do too.