Would you vote for Kerry Prendergast for a fourth term as Wellington mayor?
Yes, she's good for Wellington
No, I won't vote for her
I've previously supported her but it's time for a change
I support one of the other candidates
I'll wait till all the candidates have been confirmed
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She told The Dominion Post last night that she would stand again as an independent, after earlier ruling out contesting the October election so she could spend more time with her family.
She will announce her candidacy this morning, appearing to kill the possibility that she would front an election bid on the Sir Bob Jones-promoted Vibrant Wellington ticket.
"I have decided to seek a fourth term as mayor to ensure there is ongoing confidence in Wellington's direction, leadership and management of the council. I have always stood as an independent and I will do so again this year."
Significant challenges included retaining the NZI Sevens tournament, increasing inner-city safety, and ensuring Wellington maintained a strong voice on national issues and resource allocation, Ms Prendergast, 56, said. "My campaign will be about how Wellington is doing really well at the moment and is a fantastic city. Why change?"
Her husband, hotelier Rex Nicholls, said there was "nobody else out there" capable of doing the job as well as his wife, but he also had other reasons to support her seeking office again.
"If she doesn't do this, then she has one more good job in her. She would go off and work for a company and I would see even less of her. At least the mayoral job has some flexibility. And we do go to some fantastic events. We went to the opening of the Beijing Olympic Games, for example, so there is that side of it too."
Sir Bob said Ms Prendergast's decision came as no surprise but he believed there was still a possibility she might stand on the Vibrant Wellington ticket.
The central plank of the business-led group is to create a bus-free pedestrian boulevard in the central city.
"If Kerry is going to back this, and it has been hinted at, then we wouldn't put a mayoral candidate up. Simple as that. It would create a monument to her tenure as mayor."
This morning, Sir Bob said Vibrant Wellington had a list of people wanting to front it and announcements will be made in May.
He told Radio New Zealand today he always knew Ms Prendergast planned to stand as an independent, but the pair kept in touch and if she wanted to fully back the pedestrian initiative then Vibrant Wellington would not bother seeking a candidate.
Ad Feedback But in the meantime the group was holding regular meetings and Sir Bob said progress was being made in terms of getting a candidate to front it.
"We are weighing up a lot of names now...we are going to announce all that in May," he said.
Sir Bob said the group's slogan was: "Don't vote for us - vote for this," and while the candidate needed to be capable, he or she was not considered especially important in overall terms.
He ruled out running for mayor himself. "I'm too old, I've been self-employed since I was 19, I'm used to things getting done..."
The property investor lives in Lower Hutt, but said he was probably one of the biggest ratepayers in Wellington city, and considered himself a Wellingtonian.
Ms Prendergast first won the mayoralty in 2001, after former mayor Mark Blumsky decided not to run again.
Mayoral candidate Allan Probert, a Miramar vet, also expected Ms Prendergast's decision but said it was time for change.
"I think she has been there for three terms and she has had enough time to establish a direction for the city."
Wellington businessman Jack Yan is also seeking the mayoral chains. He said the election was about creating jobs in the capital.
"Wellingtonians don't want the sort of continuity Ms Prendergast offers because they are concerned Wellington is falling behind as an international city. Unless Ms Prendergast can show us she cares about job creation then I'm afraid she is not the woman for the job in 2010."
Other candidates will formally announce their mayoralty campaigns in the next few months including Wellington city councillors Bryan Pepperell and Celia Wade-Brown.