Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne has announced he will not be seeking re-election for a fifth term in this year’s local body elections.
Richard and his wife Jane announced together that he would be stepping down from his role as Mayor after this year’s election, a role he has held on to for the past 12 years, serving four consecutive terms as the Mayor of the Tasman District. Richard spent the previous six years as a councillor before running for Mayor in 2007.
Richard said that serving the Tasman community has been an “honour and a privilege” and thanks the community for their continued support and faith in him during his time as Mayor.
When asked how long he had been considering retiring from his role as Mayor, Richard said “It’s not a new thought, it’s probably something that’s been cogitating for three years, and then by the end of last year I kind of thought, ‘Yep, I’ve made my mind up’ but I wanted to announce it at the right time.
“Coming in to this last term, there were times that I would think ‘Oh, man’ whereas I didn’t used to think that … so I think its time for someone else to pick up the baton.”
“Being mayor is a complete commitment” Richard said, when asked about the demands of the job. “He’s working upwards of 70 hours a week,” says Jane.
There have been many highlights over Richard’s 12 years in office, but he says “The mayoralty is never about single issues but working in the best interests of the whole community.”
However, Richard said that one of his proudest achievements was getting the Waimea Community Dam over the line. “Despite the challenging process to get to this decision, it was with great satisfaction that the decision was made to proceed. It is my view that the drought we have experienced this year demonstrates the need for the dam.”
The council confirmed on Friday, November 30, that the Waimea Community Dam would be built with councillors voting 9-5 in favour of the project. After the meeting, Richard had said he would make a decision on whether or not he would run for a fifth term by early January, but his decision making was delayed by the Drought and Fire during January and February.
“Despite the challenges, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as mayor.” Richard acknowledges the support that he has received throughout the years, including from his wife Jane, his Deputy Mayor Tim King, and the members of the community who have continually supported him.
The exiting Mayor is still considering his options for life out of office but has said that his focus will remain on the council until a new Mayor is elected in October. Jane says that she has already started planning for a holiday.
“Tasman District is growing and thriving, and it has been a privilege to be your Mayor.”