Retired farmer wins in Tararua

The Tararua district's mayoral race has been won in convincing style by ex British military man and retired farmer Roly Ellis.

Mr Ellis, 62, romped in with a 1700 vote majority.

This year's four horse race was the district's first serious mayoral stoush since 1998.

Since first being elected mayor in 1998, Maureen Reynolds had comfortably seen off all subsequent challengers. She did not seek re-election this year. None of the new leadership hopefuls were newcomers to local politics.  

Mr Ellis, who had twice the votes of his nearest rival with 2943; David Lea, 1240; and  Warren Davidson, 1168 are all sitting Tararua district councillors, while Michael Feyen,  1084, was making the switch from Palmerston North City Council.  

Mr Feyen, an ex-policeman and events organiser, who polled last, said the result was surprising.

''I walked more than 450 kilometres through every town in my campaign and people were telling me it was time for change. They may have said that but that is not how they voted. I really thought I stood a good chance of winning but I got well and truly [trounced].''

There was just one casuality in the election for councillors, with the northern ward's Chris Southgate losing out to newcomer, Dannevirke Art Society president Brenda Dodunski.  

Voter turnout was 53 per cent compared to 48 per cent in 2007.

The Dominion Post