Third time lucky for Malcolm Macpherson

Win caps off hectic week

By Steve Hepburn, Otago Daily Times

Susan, Malcolm and Marisa

New Central Otago Mayor Malcolm Macpherson's feet have hardly touched the ground this week.

Dr Macpherson, only the second mayor the Central Otago district has had, was working in Kuala Lumpur until Wednesday night. He then hopped on a plane and was back in Alexandra on Thursday. Friday was spent at a couple of meetings and carrying out last-minute campaigning.

And then, about 2.50pm on Saturday, he received a phone call from Central Otago District Council chief executive Steve Green telling him he had won the mayoralty.

"It was all a bit surreal, really. One minute you're sitting on the 26th floor of some high-rise in Kuala Lumper and then the next you're back in the wide-open, beautiful countryside of Alexandra," Dr Macpherson (55) said. "I'm rapt to have won and been given a mandate from the whole of the district."

He won the mayoralty with 2237 votes, 329 ahead of Edna McAtamney, with Martin McPherson third, 1012 votes behind Dr Macpherson.

For Dr Macpherson, who holds a PhD in geology from the University of Canterbury and works as a business quality awards adviser, it was third time lucky. He had been unsuccessful against Bill McIntosh in 1992 and 1998.

"I've always said right along the person who won would have to win all over the district, not just in Alexandra. "In fact, it is surprising a person from Alexandra managed to win as there were three high-quality candidates from here. "But, that is the way it should be. Someone who wins should generate support from around the district. "But I was never confident. With no polling, there was no indication of who would win. A month out, I thought it was between Edna and myself."

Dr Macpherson was also elected as the Central Otago representative on the Otago District Health Board, by more than 4200 votes.

"There may have been a spill-over effect with people voting for me on the health board and then deciding to give their mayoral vote, too."

He believed the council had become slightly more liberal and was delighted with the mix of young and old in the new council. He would consult other councillors before deciding on the deputy mayor and chairs of various committees in the next couple of weeks. He predicted exciting times for the district. He was sticking to his promise of a nil rate increase in the next 10 years.

"There are many challenges in front of us. We are going to have to deal with some of the problems the Queenstown-Lakes council has had but I believe with careful planning and hard work we can overcome those."

Monday, 15 October 2001

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