Kaipara moving forward
While there are some faces re-appearing on the new council, the make-up of a generally younger team appears, initially at least, to be a good mix over the Kaipara as a whole.
With lessons learnt from the past decade the balance of male, female, rural, urban, maori, health, environmental and community-minded should, if all pulling in the same direction, move Kaipara forward with continued stability and optimism.
New Kaipara Mayor, Greg Gent, who polled nearly four times the No.1 rankings as his nearest rival said he was pleased with the confidence voters had in him.
Gent has a strong background of corporate and business associations and achievements but fully recognises the challenge ahead and that running Kaipara must be a team effort.
Although there were some members he did not know well, he said he had been impressed by their pre-election speeches and could initially see little reason why a new council could not gel fairly smoothly and move forward in a positive state.
With a ratio of five women to three men, plus the mayor, this could well bring some new issues into play for Kaipara.
Top polling for Otamatea, first-termer Libby Jones is well-known in various roles within Kaipara and the greater Whangarei areas so her level of support was not surprising.
Peter Wethey’s strong business background stood him in good stead in the polls and second-timer Jonathan Larsen will be part of a very different team from that of the 2010 Council.
With a little over 47 per cent of votes returned compared to a record 53 per cent in 2010, this was well above the national average which was below 40 per cent – but still leaves questions over how to encourage more of the 50 per cent of registered voters who do not participate.
For Northland Regional Council, in the closely run Coastal South Constituency which serves Mangawhai, long-serving councillor Craig Brown garnered 2990 votes but was toppled by Langs Beach local and first-timer Rick Stolwerk, who, with 3351 votes took the single seat.
In the Kaipara Constituency Penny Smart won the seat with 1396 votes, ahead of Tangiteroria’s Rob Stevenson.
Northland Health Board required seven elected members from 21 standing candidates. Libby Jones, Debbie Evans and Craig Brown are among those successful.
BY ROB POOLEY
POPULAR: New Kaipara Mayor Greg Gent. PHOTO/John Stone