Local Elections 2013
Classic car business owner Ross Church has won the Kapiti mayoralty with a new-look council, one he wants to turn into an "open and friendly" group.
The 61-year-old, one-term councillor, scooped 7933 votes while runner-up councillor K.Gurunathan received 6779 and out-going mayor of six years, Jenny Rowan, managed 4543.
New faces around the council table include Gavin Welsh, Jackie Elliot, Murray Bell and David Scott, returning after a break from council. Janet Holborow will represent Paekakariki-Raumati.
Councillors K.Gurunathan, Mike Cardiff, Diane Ammundsen, Penny Gaylor and Tony Lloyd retained their seats.
Ms Rowan supporters, deputy mayor Roger Booth and councillor Tony Lester, lost their seats, along with long-serving councillor Peter Ellis.
Mr Church said the last council was perceived as not being open and friendly.
"I want to break down those barriers ... be available to the community ... put people before process. Setting that atmosphere is a priorty - more open communication, less spin.
"We need to look at all the contentious issues - coastal hazard lines, water meters, the Waikanae River recharge scheme, see how we can improve things," he said.
Rates were another big issue.
"We have done some really big project work, it is probably time for consolidation."
He could see no difficulty working with the new council.
"It looks really good. There has been some aggro and discussion about people being difficult. I do not see it like that. There is a hard core of people I have worked with before and some new blood."
With his partner Vicki McCarthy at his side, he was excited about the next three years.
"I am really buzzing ... it is humbling, the number of people who voted for me, puts you on notice to do a good job for a lot of people who have put their trust in you."
K.Gurunathan believed there was a clear message from the results.
"Significant sections of the community have been alienated, these people have spoken. It cannot be business as usual. The can-do council became a don't care council, running rough-shod over sections of the community."
Ms Rowan did not return calls from The Dominion Post but issued a press release saying she accepted the will of the electorate and remained proud of her achievements.
"I believe I have represented the district honourably and effectively ... we have worked hard and acted with integrity and courage dealing with some very big issues.
"The result shows that in spite of considerable achievements, we've not managed to take some sections of the community with us, particularly on water issues and coastal hazards."
- © Fairfax NZ News
Did you vote in the local body elections?Related story: New mayors straight to work around NZ