NZ’s youngest mayor humbled by Porirua election landslide
PORIRUA Mayor Nick Leggett has won a large re-election mandate in which he defeated two little-known challengers.
With 98% of the vote counted it appears that he has doubled his majority, compared with the previous election.
Mr Leggett, speaking to Newswire on Saturday evening, said he ran a successful campaign and at no point took the result for granted.
“You never know until the numbers come in, I was pretty nervous,” he said.
“After running a strong campaign I am delighted and very humbled to be re-elected.”
He said he will be celebrating on Saturday evening with successful colleagues, friends and family at the Porirua Club.
He said he was very excited about working with the newly elected council.
Mr Leggett emphasised his commitment to his main policy areas – restoring critical infrastructure, attracting business and new residents and promoting the city.
Mr Leggett was first elected to council in 1998 as the countries youngest councillor.
In 2010 outgoing Mayor Jenny Brash and former Mayor John Burke endorsed Mr Leggett for the top job.
That year he beat out eight other contenders to become New Zealand’s youngest mayor.
The former commercial real-estate agent is a member of the Labour Party and is talked about as a future member of Parliament.
Brian Collins, a financial expert from Papakowhai, came seventh in the 2010 election and this time came second. He also stood in the Northern Ward.
Titahi Bay resident Yvonne Carroll, a Ministry of Social Development bureaucrat, came third. She also contested the Western Ward.
Under new laws, Mr Leggett will choose his own deputy and committee chair people. He said he would discuss the position with colleagues before making a decision on the deputy position.
Current deputy mayor Liz Kelly, who this year ran in the Western Ward, was losing by nine votes at time of publication.
When asked about Mrs Kelly’s result Mr Leggett said he believed voters get it right.
Mrs Kelly gathered with supporters on Saturday evening. She has spent the past three years as the city’s deputy mayor, a time fraught with tension between herself and Mr Leggett.
Special votes and votes cast this morning are still to be counted but with 98% counted the voter turnout appears to be 34.27%. In 2010 voter turnout was 38.6% in Porirua.
Mr Leggett said he was “extremely disappointed” by the low number people voting. “It’s a shame that only a third of residents wanted to have a say,” he said
In 2016 Porirua will be one of the first cities in New Zealand to use electronic voting for local body elections.
Porirua City Council is elected using the Single Transferable Vote system in which electors rank candidates according to preference.
There has been little change in the council line-up despite the number of seats being reduced from 14 to 10.
In the Northern Ward, current councillors Euon Murrell, Anita Baker, Tim Sheppard and Bronwyn Kropp were re-elected. Former deputy mayor Kevin Watson, who stood to oppose the super-city, was not elected.
The Eastern Ward was the most hotly contested competition this election. Former Black Fern Izzy Ford becomes a new councillor, while Litea Ah Hoi and Denys Lathem were re-elected.
At this stage, it appears that former mayor John Burke has returned to the council table after a 15-year break. Current councillor Fa’afoi Seiuli was not re-elected.
Meanwhile, in the Western Ward, Ana Coffey and Ken Douglas have retained their positions for a further three years.