Rodney Times - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS -

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.

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