Fresh faces on council
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.’’