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Porirua mayor-elect Nick Leggett 'humbled' by level of support

BY KRIS DANDO
Last updated 05:00 12/10/2010

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Kapi-Mana News

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"Humbling" and "overwhelming" is how Nick Leggett describes his comprehensive victory for the Porirua mayoralty.

Mr Leggett amassed 5930 votes, nearly double that of closest rival Litea Ah Hoi. Aged just 31, Porirua City's fourth mayor will be the youngest in the country.

On Sunday morning it still hadn't sunk in.

"It's quite overwhelming. You spend months building up to it and it's over in a flash. The fact I have such a strong mandate is very humbling."

Mr Leggett says with many new faces around the council table, a new chief executive in Gary Simpson and a new Mana MP still to be elected, it's a "time of renewal" for Porirua and he is excited for the future.

"We've got councillors aged 19 to 75, plenty of Maori and Pacific representation - it's a council that looks like its community. You have a good mix of skills and backgrounds, interests and ages. The city is young, has adapted well in the past, and I'm sure we will set a course now and achieve significant things."

Ms Ah Hoi, who was the top polling council candidate in the eastern ward, told Kapi-Mana News this would be her last term in office.

"I'm proud of my team, we ran a pretty good campaign on a shoestring budget and fought the good fight. I've congratulated Nick and I'm sure this triennium is going to be very, very interesting. But this is my last term. It's time for the new generation to come through, there are other challenges out there for me and I need more time with my family."

The new council will include five new faces and one returning. Faafoi Seiuli surprised many by polling second in the eastern ward, while Wayne Poutoa and Rob Rangi - regaining the seat he lost in 2007 - were also elected. Denys Latham retained his seat but Tim Manu missed out.

In the western ward, first-time candidate 'Ana Coffey topped the polls, ahead of Ken Douglas and Liz Kelly. The lead vote-taker from 2007, Henry Smith, missed out.

In the northern ward, incumbents Euon Murrell, Sue Dow and Tim Sheppard retained their seats comfortably, while Anita Baker and Bronwyn Kropp edged out Pauline Morse for the positions left vacant by Robert Shaw and Mr Leggett. Ms Kropp, 19, will be the youngest councillor in New Zealand.

Former mayor Jenny Brash will join Barbara Donaldson as the Porirua/Tawa representatives on Greater Wellington Regional Council, at the expense of John Burke, who also lost his seat on the Hutt Mana Charitable Trust to Sarah Dow by nearly 1200 votes.

Voter turnout was again poor. In Porirua, 12,066 people (36 per cent) out of a possible 34,873 returned their papers, 2 per cent fewer than in 2007. Only 30.7 per cent of voters in the eastern ward voted, compared with 36.97 and 40.74 in the western and northern wards respectively.

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Newcomer Justin Lester led the way in Wellington's northern ward. He will join Ngaire Best and Helene Ritchie on the council, replacing Hayley Wain.

The election results were still preliminary as Kapi-Mana News went to press. The most contentious result was the Wellington mayoralty, where incumbent Kerry Prendergast led Celia Wade-Brown by only 40 votes with about 1000 special votes to be counted.

- Kapi-Mana News

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