The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts]
Since the inception of the Borough Council of Blenheim, seventeen citizens, exclusive of the present Mayor, have occupied the Mayor's chair. Mr. F. J. Litchfield and Mr. Henry Dodson, the first and second Mayors of Blenheim, were elected by their colleagues in the Borough Council. Mr. Dodson, however, contended that this mode of election was not sufficiently representative, and he carried a proposal in the Council that the Mayors of Blenheim should be elected by the ratepayers. Accordingly, for several years the ratepayers — without statutory sanction—elected their Mayors, and this plan became so popular that “The Blenheim Mayors Bill” was read in the House of Representatives in the year 1875. It gave the ratepayers the legal right to elect their Mayors, and though it did not pass it was included in the Municipal Corporations Act of the following year; and that Act applied to the whole colony the democratic principle which had been first brought into use at Blenheim.