Peter Chin may have lost the election but he appears to have rediscovered his sense of humour - and perhaps his joie de vivre - following Saturday's election results.
Dunedin's outgoing mayor was yesterday clearly a happier man following the weight of office being lifted from his shoulders after six years in a job that involved "committing yourself completely to Dunedin".
And he took a parting shot at the candidates who ran negative campaigns "rubbishing" a city Mr Chin said had made considerable progress.
"There has got to be recognition out there that Dunedin has achieved a whole lot of things," he said.
Mr Chin was yesterday a different man to the person who late last month finished a mayoral election forum furious with the debate of which he had just been part.
The campaign, which one councillor described on Sunday as "vicious", took a toll on the councillor of 15 years.
Much of the electorate clearly perceived him as the leader of a council that had spent too much on projects with which many did not agree.
But he was yesterday looking forward to a future mostly disengaged from public life.
"I'm a pensioner," he said as he cleared his office of a giant cheque that had been gathering dust in a corner for some time, a model of the Shanghai Expo building, and a cup and saucer, still in their box, with "very important person" inscribed on them.
"What I'm looking for is my own time, my own space," he said.
Mr Chin was known to rise at 4am to start his day, one of the reasons, perhaps, he began to look tired as late afternoon meetings dragged on.
"I enjoyed doing it," he said of the job.
"It's never been any trouble, [but] now I don't have to do that any more there's a feeling of relief.
"There's a bit of disappointment I haven't got it [the mayoralty].
"I'll always have the interests of Dunedin at heart, but I won't actually be there doing it.
"It frees me up to indulge myself in all manner of trivia."
That included his role as chief commissioner of the Gambling Commission, and trustee of the Asia New Zealand Foundation.
Mayor-elect Dave Cull has indicated there may be a role for Mr Chin in the sister city relationship with Shanghai into which he had put considerable effort.
Mr Chin admitted having become "disheartened" by every candidate in the election campaign standing on a platform that everything the council had done for the past six years had been wrong.
Mr Chin said he stood on his record, and the council's work, to give the city a new water system, sewerage system and stadium, and an upgraded Dunedin Centre, town hall and Regent Theatre.
"Sure there are things that are controversial, that some don't like, but by and large, the city has done well." By David Loughrey on Tue, 12 Oct 2010