Vicki Buck’s exit prompts bid for council seat

Right-leaning Independent Citizens candidate Catherine Chu will no longer be running uncontested for the city council’s Riccarton Ward in October’s local body elections.

Former Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton Community Board member Peter Laloli has put his name forward to run independently against Ms Chu for the job.

The decision was prompted by current city councillor Vicki Buck’s announcement to depart from politics at the end of the term.

The retired policeman and Riccarton resident said he had been considering running for the community board, but now that Ms Buck isn’t standing, he will put his name forward for city council as well.

Peter Laloli

Mr Laloli served on the community board for 15 years – two terms as the chairman of the board – before he failed to be re-elected in 2016.

But Ms Chu said his decision to run against her doesn’t change a lot.

She said his experience could not be ignored but she hopes to bring a fresh perspective.

“It has always been about me fighting for what I believe is right and fighting for the residents and being a strong voice for them,” she said.

In the last elections, Mr Laloli came third in the race to secure the city council’s Halswell Ward with 1337 votes – losing by 796 votes to city councillor Anne Galloway and 702 votes to Halswell Community Project chairwoman Chrys Horn.

Catherine Chu.

He also lost to current community board members Debbie Mora by 780 votes and 506 votes to Ross McFarlane in a bid for a place on the board with 2634 votes.

But Mr Laloli said: “If you can’t afford to lose, don’t stand.”

He said his reasoning for his bid to return to the board is because “nothing has happened in three years.”

“The things on the agenda are exactly the same as what was there when I left,” he said.

Mr Laloli said some of these issues being the Hornby Library, Customer Services and Recreation and Sport Centre and roadwork issues on Riccarton Rd.

Ms Chu agreed there is too much bureaucracy that goes on which wastes time and process.

“That is why on council level I want to be able to make sure this less of that and things get done more efficiently,” she said.

Ms Chu said she believes she can achieve more on a council level than at the board – some of her goals are to review council spending, making rates affordable and restoring basic infrastructure in the city.

Mr Laloli hopes to improve partnerships in the community to reduce crime and to review the number of cycleways the city council is installing.

“I am a pro-person for cycle lanes, I like cycle lanes but I don’t think we need to put in place the cycle lanes we have got,” he said.