Kaipara District Council has its first mayor in over four years after Ruawai farmer and company director Greg Gent was elected by a strong majority.
Mr Gent easily won the position, gaining 4799 votes, well ahead of main rival Bruce Rogan who received 1256 votes.
He says the Commissioners have done a good job bringing stability to the Kaipara and he hopes to set priorities with the incoming Councillors and continue to tackle its $65 million debt.
“We’ve got to run as efficiently as we can to reduce debt,” Mr Gent says. “The other big thing is getting Council to work as a good, cohesive group. Like with any board, that will be a high priority.”
The new Council will be officially sworn in on October 25.
Mr Gent chairs the Southern Cross Health Group and FMG Insurance, but says he will reduce his commitments to focus on Council.
He chaired the three-person review team that led to Kaipara Councillors resigning and Commissioners being appointed. He was also made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to governance in 2012. In the Otamatea Ward, which includes Mangawhai, Libby Jones, Peter Wethey and Jonathan Larsen were elected.
The Northland Regional Council will have five new representatives on the nine-member Council.
New Councillor Penny Smart will represent the Kaipara constituency, filling the seat previously held by the Council’s former deputy chair Graeme Ramsey, who did not seek re-election.
The other newcomers are Jocelyn Yeoman (Coastal North), Mike Finlayson (Te Hiku), Rick Stolwerk (Coastal South) and Justin Blaikie (Hokianga-Kaikohe). These seats were previously held by Dover Samuels, Monty Knight, Craig Brown and Joe Carr.
The four returning Councillors include Paul Dimery and Bill Shepherd from Coastal Central and Coastal North; and John Bain and David Sinclair representing Whangarei Urban.
Nineteen people contested the nine available regional council seats.