Second-time mayor wants inclusive Whangarei

STRONG MANDATE: Whangarei's new mayor Stan Semenoff at the Whangarei Town Basin which was developed during his previous three terms as mayor in the 1990s.
STRONG MANDATE: Whangarei's new mayor Stan Semenoff at the Whangarei Town Basin which was developed during his previous three terms as mayor in the 1990s.

Stan Semenoff says he wants his next term as mayor to be more inclusive.

A three-term mayor during the 1990s, Mr Semenoff unseated incumbent Pamela Peters from the city's top job on Saturday gaining just over 49 percent of the vote, compared to 27 percent for Mrs Peters.

Preliminary results show Mr Semenoff received 13,204 votes to Mrs Peters' 7150 - a roughly 6000 vote margin.

Voter turnout was about 51 percent, excluding special votes, the same as in 2004.

Mr Semenoff says he is determined to move away from an 'us and them' mentality.

"This time around it's not about Stan Semenoff - or them and us," he says.

"It is about us - us the voters, us the newly elected council, us the staff and me as leader bringing it all together.

"The voters have handed out a fairly hefty mandate for us to get on and do it. We stood on a platform of affordability and this will filter down to all aspects of council business delivering value for money to ratepayers."

While Mr Semenoff says he would have hoped for a slightly different result when it comes to the councillors voters have charged him to work with, he is eager to get on with the job.

"The voters have given me the tools to work with," he says. "These are the tools I've got and if I'm worth a pinch of salt I've got to use those tools and harness the energies and skills in the best interest of Whangarei District."

Joining Mr Semenoff in the council chambers will be re-elected councillors Chrichton Christie, Sheryl Mai and Kahu Sutherland representing Denby Ward, Sue Glen and Merv Williams - Okara Ward, Shelley Deeming and Phil Halse - Bream Bay Ward and Greg Martin - from the new Hikurangi/Coastal Ward.

New councillors are Vince Cocurullo and Brian McLachlan for Okara, Alan Goodhue - Hikurangi/Coastal, Sharon Morgan - Mangakahia/Maungatapere and Warwick Syers from the new Whangarei Heads Ward.

Councillors Ann Shaw and John Williamson were not re-elected.

Mr Semenoff will not be drawn on what the priorities would be once the new council is sworn in saying this will be set once he sits down with senior management and councillors.

Among the to dos outlined during Mr Semenoff's campaigning are:

  • Build an affordable stadium for all sports. He says things like convention centres fit better with a five-star downtown hotel where the convention-goers will stay.
  • Protect the Town Basin from any high-rise building on any area which should be left for green, open spaces. That area was developed in the 1990s for the benefit of all the people of Whangarei District - and that's how it should stay, he says.
  • Put a stop to further waste on the 'grand canal' project at the Town Basin. This is Whangarei, not Dubai, he says. Our ratepayers are battlers, not billionaires.
  • Get cracking on real solutions to inner-city traffic, and make sure there are no more Town Basin third bridge fiascos. We need to get started on the Tikipunga-Kamo bypass link, and the link between Porowini Ave and Port Rd.
  • Return the council and its staff to a positive and pro-active culture. People dealing with the council should get speedy and positive outcomes, says Mr Semenoff.

    Meanwhile, at the Northland Regional Council representing Whangarei will be Bill Rossiter, Peter Jensen, Craig Brown and newcomer John Bain.

    Elected to the Northland District Health Board are Bill Sanderson, Pauline Allan-Downs, Sally Macauley, Colin Kitchen, Daniel Bolton, Craig Brown and Peter Jensen.

  • Whangarei Leader