Proud of finished projects
Duncan Butcher’s number-one job these days is being a grandad, and it’s with his grandchildren, and other family members, he plans to celebrate his recent Queen’s Birthday honour.
The retired Cromwell man, who is currently babysitting his grandchildren for five weeks in Auckland, said he will have a family dinner in the North Island to celebrate being made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for his services to local government and the community.
Now fully retired, his 33 years of local body politics is never far from his mind.
Butcher moved to Cromwell to work as an electrical overseer for the Ministry of Works after several years working overseas. In 1980 he was elected to the Cromwell Borough Council and three years later he became deputy mayor, before becoming mayor three years later in 1986.
In 1989, the Cromwell borough was disestablished and the Central Otago District Council was formed, with Butcher becoming deputy mayor of the district. That same year he also became a councillor on the Otago Regional Council.
However, his dual roles were short-lived, when in 1991 the rules were changed meaning he was not allowed to be a district councillor and a regional councillor at the same time. He chose the regional council, and had been a regional councillor since his retirement last October.
‘‘It wasn’t a hard decision (to be on the regional council). I felt I could contribute better to the regional council than the district council and by that time, most of the things in Cromwell had been sorted out,’’ he told the Mirror on his retirement.
His 24 years on the Otago Regional Council, leading policy development for the region especially relating to water quality and quantity, stood out as a highlight, he said.
‘‘To see something come through and actually be helping with the social and economic wellbeing of Otago is gratifying.’’
One of his key achievements was negotiating with the Crown for the future of Cromwell, because of the need to develop a new town centre because of work on the Clyde dam.
He represented Otago on the Local Government New Zealand Regional Sector Group. He was chairman of the Cromwell Community Board and chaired the Central Otago Lakes Trust from 2006 to 2010. He was trustee of the Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust and was on the New Zealand Heritage Trails Trust. He has been a Otago Community Trust member and was on the Port Otago development liaison committee.
He also regarded his services on various trusts over the years gratifying, he said.
‘‘You think about decisions you have made and it’s brilliant. I can drive around Central Otago and Otago and look at things I have been involved in and see them evolve into finished projects.’’
Butcher said he felt ‘‘very proud’’ to have received the honour.
‘‘It’s sort of one of those things I guess you don’t really expect but when it does come along it’s very nice.’’
Honoured: Duncan ButcherONZMlikes seeing the finished projects he has contributed to in Central Otago.