Waipā District Council will have a few fresh faces and some familiar figures returning to council chambers following this year’s local government elections.
Nominations closed last Friday, with Jim Mylchreest unopposed as mayor of the Waipā district.
“I’m taking it as a real vote of confidence,” he said. “Some could say it’s apathy, but I think if there’s a district where there are problems you’ll have a big turnout of people.”
Of 25 positions available for Waipā District Council and its community boards, 10 were automatically filled with the same number of candidates as there were vacancies – meaning there will be no election for the Pirongia, Maungatautari and Kakepuku wards of council, nor the Maungatautari subdivision on the Cambridge Community Board and the Te Awamutu subdivision of Te Awamutu Community Board.
Unopposed in their wards, councillors Clare St Pierre, Bruce Thomas, Elwyn Andree-Wiltens and Susan O’Regan have been automatically re-elected alongside Mayor Jim Mylchreest.
New community board representation comes in the form of Mike Montgomery, who was unchallenged for the Maungatautari subdivision position on the Cambridge Community Board, and Jill Taylor for Te Awamutu subdivision of Te Awamutu community board. Gary Derbyshire, Angela Holt and Richard Hurrell were re-elected unopposed for the Te Awamutu Community Board.
In total, 46 nominations were received for 25 Waipā District Council positions, including a mix of men and women, different ethnicities and nominees both young and not-so-young.
Mylchreest said he was happy with the spread, which had both experienced candidates and fresh faces coming to the table.
“You’ve got a mix of stability and new ideas which is good,” he said. “You need to have that continuity as well. It’s obvious people want to be involved in council and it’s a good spread.
“I take my hat off to everybody who offers themselves up for this community service,” Mylchreest added. “These people have the courage to put their hand up and that’s a great thing.”
When asked what issues voters might consider during election time, Mylchreest said he didn’t want to tell people how to vote, but said it was important to think about what candidates were saying.
“Those who think they can stop growth and reduce rates very quickly find you can’t, if that’s their election plank I’d steer away,” he said. “People might promise they’re going to cut rates, but because so much of what we do is necessary work, it’s not something that’s really possible, and to actually have a district that’s so attractive as well.
“We’ve got to be on the ball if we want to preserve our district and the amenities and values that we’ve got.
“Look at their background and experience and what they can bring to the table.”
He said Waipā’s turnout of candidates, compared to higher numbers in Hamilton and Auckland, seemed to reflect a healthy district.
“Waipā’s pretty stable, we’ve kept rates down to a 2 per cent average, so I think people are pretty happy with how things are going.
“It’s a great district to be mayor of. I’m delighted to be leading for another three years.”
Meanwhile, in the Waikato District Council’s Tamahere Ward, Councillor Aksel Bech has been re-elected unopposed. Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson is running again for mayor, challenged by mayoral candidates Korikori Hawkins and Simon Thomson.
In the Waikato Regional Council election, three people are running for two vacancies in the Waipā- King Country General Constituency – Andrew MacPherson, Stuart Kneebone and Dan Armstrong.
Between September 20 and 25 residents will receive their voting papers in the mail, and can post the documents back to electoral officers as soon as they have voted. The documents must be received no later than 12pm on October 12. Official results will be declared October 17.