Mayor youngest in NZ

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By KRIS DANDO

‘‘Hum­bling’’ and ‘‘ over­whelm­ing’’ is how Nick Leggett de­scribes his com­pre­hen­sive vic­tory for the Porirua may­oralty.

Mr Leggett amassed 5930 votes, nearly dou­ble that of clos­est ri­val Litea Ah Hoi. Aged just 31, Porirua City’s fourth mayor will be the youngest in the coun­try.

On Sun­day morn­ing it still hadn’t sunk in.

‘‘ It’s quite over­whelm­ing. You spend months build­ing up to it and it’s over in a flash. The fact I have such a strong man­date is very hum­bling.’’

Mr Leggett says with many new faces around the coun­cil ta­ble, a new chief ex­ec­u­tive in Gary Simp­son and a new Mana MP still to be elected, it’s a ‘‘ time of re­newal’’ for Porirua and he is ex­cited for the fu­ture.

‘‘We’ve got coun­cil­lors aged 19 to 75, plenty of Maori and Pa­cific rep­re­sen­ta­tion – it’s a coun­cil that looks like its com­mu­nity. You have a good mix of skills and back­grounds, in­ter­ests and ages. The city is young, has adapted well in the past, and I’m sure we will set a course now and achieve sig­nif­i­cant things.’’

Ms Ah Hoi, who was the top polling coun­cil can­di­date in the east­ern ward, told Kapi-Mana News

Porirua mayor-elect Nick Leggett, who told his col­leagues and sup­port­ers at a vic­tory party on Satur­day night that he wanted the city to be seen as ‘‘a leader, not a vic­tim’’. this would be her last term in of­fice.

‘‘I’m proud of my team, we ran a pretty good cam­paign on a shoe­string bud­get and fought the good fight. I’ve con­grat­u­lated Nick and I’m sure this tri­en­nium is go­ing to be very, very in­ter­est­ing. But this is my last term. It’s time for the new gen­er­a­tion to come through, there are other chal­lenges out there for me and I need more time with my fam­ily.’’

The new coun­cil will in­clude five new faces and one re­turn­ing. Faafoi Seiuli sur­prised many by polling sec­ond in the east­ern ward, while Wayne Poutoa and Rob Rangi – re­gain­ing the seat he lost in 2007 – were also elected. Denys Latham re­tained his seat but Tim Manu missed out.

In the western ward, first-time can­di­date ’Ana Cof­fey topped the polls, ahead of Ken Dou­glas and Liz Kelly. The lead vote-taker from 2007, Henry Smith, missed out.

In the north­ern ward, in­cum­bents Euon Mur­rell, Sue Dow and Tim Shep­pard re­tained their seats com­fort­ably, while Anita Baker and Bronwyn Kropp edged out Pauline Morse for the po­si­tions left va­cant by Robert Shaw and Mr Leggett. Ms Kropp, 19, will be the youngest councillor in New Zealand.

For­mer mayor Jenny Brash will join Bar­bara Don­ald­son as the Porirua/Tawa rep­re­sen­ta­tives on Greater Welling­ton Re­gional Coun­cil, at the ex­pense of John Burke, who also lost his seat on the Hutt Mana Char­i­ta­ble Trust to Sarah Dow by nearly 1200 votes.

Voter turnout was again poor. In Porirua, 12,066 peo­ple (36 per cent) out of a pos­si­ble 34,873 re­turned their pa­pers, 2 per cent fewer than in 2007. Only 30.7 per cent of vot­ers in the east­ern ward voted, com­pared with 36.97 and 40.74 in the western and north­ern wards re­spec­tively.

New­comer Justin Lester led the way in Welling­ton’s north­ern ward. He will join Ngaire Best and Helene Ritchie on the coun­cil, re­plac­ing Hay­ley Wain.

The elec­tion re­sults were still pre­lim­i­nary as Kapi-Mana News went to press. The most con­tentious re­sult was the Welling­ton may­oralty, where in­cum­bent Kerry Pren­der­gast led Celia Wade-Brown by only 40 votes with about 1000 spe­cial votes to be counted.

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