Doctor Jason Smith, a 46 year-old beef and sheep farmer and businessman from Matakohe, has been elected the new mayor of Kaipara. His election in Saturday’s by-election followed the resignation of former mayor Greg Gent last November. Gent had only served one year of his three year term. A fifth generational resident of the district, he campaigned for a fresh start and is delighted voters were ready to accept the need for change. With a doctorate in economic development and recipient of two Ballance Farm Environment Awards, he has a strong interest in economic development. The former chief executive of the Kaipara Development Agency says good economic growth is about ‘‘ doing better, what you already do well’’. He says the district needs to put out the ‘‘welcome mat to new investors, industrial and commercial development and new residents who want to enjoy the many lifestyle attributes the district offers. Transports links are are getting better all the time, so we need to encourage growth that will provide a diversity of jobs for our young people.’’ He believes he can bring the ‘‘strong, stable leadership to the district that it needs’’, not just until the next election in 2019, but in the future. ‘‘I am in it for the long run,’’ he says. Around 42.41 percent or 6743 of the 15,898 electors had voted by the close of voting.