Sir Tim Shadbolt: ‘Sometimes in life you have to accept defeat’

Sir Tim Shadbolt looks at some of his special photographs, including one of his relatives at his office in Invercargill Town Hall. [File photo].

Robyn Edie / Stuff

Sir Tim Shadbolt looks at some of his special photographs, including one of his relatives at his office in Invercargill Town Hall. [File photo].

Sir Tim Shadbolt feels his term as mayor of Invercargill is probably coming to an end.

On Wednesday, Shadbolt declared himself a “long shot” to retain the post of mayor of Invercargill, saying he would not be putting money on himself to remain in the role beyond October 8.

Winning a council seat would instead be the “most satisfying conclusion”, he said.

Shadbolt was mayor of Invercargill for 24 consecutive years and is one of ten candidates running for mayor in the October local elections.

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Shadbolt pointed to various informal polls that he said showed he was behind.

“It’s hard to go back,” Shadbolt said.

“That’s why I don’t campaign [for the mayoralty] as vigorously as I have done in the past.

“I know people don’t follow polls, they say they’re unscientific, but I’m a big fan of polls and the juggernaut Marcus Lush keeps rolling.”

“In life sometimes you have to accept defeat and be prepared to retreat… Napoleon wouldn’t back down and he was dealt with, so I don’t see anything dishonorable in defeat.”

The Rotary Club of Invercargill hosted a mayoral candidate meet on Tuesday, which Shadbolt did not attend.

When asked if it was because of his decision to cut his campaign, he replied, “Yes, that would be a fair comment.”

When asked if he intended to attend future mayoral candidate events: “I’ll see how I feel that day, but I’m unlikely to attend.”

Shadbolt hopes his background in local body politics will be seen as an asset in his bid to win one of 12 councilor positions on Invercargill City Council.

38 years ago, Shadbolt became mayor of the town of Waitemata, and he remains a political survivor.

Shadbolt was content, although he expects his term as mayor to most likely end after Oct. 8.

“I have no regrets, it’s a trip that few people have had the pleasure of enjoying as much as me. I will always be grateful to Invercargill for that.

Robyn Edie / Stuff

Invercargill Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt speaks on his 75th birthday. (video file)

Shadbolt moved from Auckland to Invercargill in 1993 where he won a by-election for mayor of Invercargill. He remained in Invercargill, with 26 of those 29 years as mayor of the city.

Not a bad effort for a former concrete contractor, he said.

He wasn’t sure what the future might hold for him after the election.

“It’s coming to an end, and I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I imagine it’s not easy for a 75-year-old concrete contractor to be looking for a job.

He jokes about having at least one offer from a women’s walking group to join them, and he also plans to finish his third book about his life.

“The way I see it is really spiritual, somehow my grave mother and father took care of me. I just landed on my feet time and time again, and I just have to hope it happens again.

“I’ll stick to writing my book, so I’ll dig into that. I love to write.

While Shadbolt declared himself a longshot, he would remain on the ballot for mayor, and ultimately it would be the public’s choice as to who he wants as mayor of Invercargill.

Voting for local body elections opens on September 16 and election day is October 8.


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