Long-standing city councillor ready to battle Sir Tim Shadbolt

The fight for the top job in Invercargill is heating up.

Long-standing city councillor and former deputy mayor Darren Ludlow is throwing his hat in the ring for the mayoralty after years of speculation.

He says now is the right time.

"It is about a change in direction and the style of leadership."

Mr Ludlow is a familiar face around the council table. He is currently serving his sixth term as a city councillor and spent five years as deputy mayor before stepping down from that role in 2017.

He has been the highest polling city councillor at the last four local body elections.

But the battle will be taking on the country's longest serving mayor, Sir Tim Shadbolt.

"This is a crucial time in Invercargill's history as our city is on the cusp of significant transformation."

A $200 million inner-city re-development is on the cards for much of the CBD.

Invercargill is also fighting off the Government's proposed changes to merge the Southern Institute of Technology and 15 other polytechnics into one.

His challenger, 72-year old Sir Tim, is running for a record ninth term as Invercargill mayor.

He also served two terms as Waitemata City mayor in Auckland.

"It is fair to say that Mayor Tim is an icon, and that makes for a different mayoral race than any other mayoral campaign in New Zealand."

But Mr Ludlow says it is time for someone who can take up the role on a full-time basis.

"He [Sir Tim] has got a lot of other jobs that take him away from the city quite a bit."

"I think to provide good, stable leadership, you have got to be there and present as much as possible."

A third contender, current deputy mayor Rebecca Amundsen, has also put her hand up for the role.