Fresh faces on coun­cil

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - By PET­RICE TARRANT

New blood has been voted in to the South Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil de­spite another poor vot­ing turnout.

Five new coun­cil­lors from the Toko­roa Ward and one unopposed from Ti­rau will help lead the dis­trict for the next three years.

Tua Nu­manga, Jeff Gash, Marin Glu­cina, Thomas Lee and Wil­liam Machen will join the only re-elected coun­cil­lor on the Toko­roa ward, Jenny Shat­tock.

Ti­rau has new rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the way of Terry Mag­ill while all three unopposed Pu­taruru ward can­di­dates Adri­enne Bell, Anne Ed­meades and Her­man van Rooi­jen are in.

The dra­matic changes came de­spite only 39.55 per cent of the dis­trict vot­ing.

Elec­toral of­fi­cer Richard Fisk said the ap­a­thy could be put down to a lack of ‘‘red hot is­sues’’ to spark peo­ple’s in­ter­est.

‘‘Apart from that I don’t think it helped that two of the wards – Pu­taruru and Ti­rau – were elected unopposed.’’

Mr Fisk has been elec­toral of­fi­cer since 1995 and can­not re­mem­ber an elec­tion turnout above 50 per cent.

He said bet­ter pro­mo­tion is not nec­es­sar­ily the an­swer.

The coun­cil spent more than $5000 on ad­ver­tis­ing in 2010 and re­ceived one of the low­est turnouts ever, he said.

New coun­cil­lor Tua Nu­manga said the dis­trict has spo­ken, al­beit only a small por­tion.

‘‘I think that the vot­ing has shown that even though it was a low polling vote, the peo­ple want change and they’ve de­cided to speak with their votes.’’

Busi­ness owner Jeff Gash scored high­est at the polls with 2125 votes. He said he was look­ing for­ward to the chal­lenge.

‘‘I’m a nosey bug­ger and I like to know what’s go­ing on. I don’t like the fact that things seem to have been bull­dozed over in the past. I’d like to see it go back to true democ­racy and I’d like to speed up the process if pos­si­ble.’’

Thomas Lee said while he was happy to get in, he was dis­ap­pointed at the turnout. ‘‘I guess that’s a sign of the times.’’ He said his first fo­cus will be en­sur­ing the South Waikato In­vest­ment Fund does not dis­ap­pear while Mr Glu­cina said he has a strong in­ter­est in the de­vel­op­ment of State High­way One.

A fresh face him­self, Mr Machen said the team looks promis­ing: ‘‘We’ve got a good rep­re­sen­ta­tive bunch. I think we’ll get on re­ally well to­gether.’’

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