Napier mayor sails to triple victory

Retaining the Napier mayoralty was the easiest of three victories for Barbara Arnott on election day.

As votes were being counted on Saturday, Mrs Arnott was out on the water in a yacht race in difficult conditions.

Her Nolex 25 crew, skippered by Bob Witham, won both their races. They are former national champions in their class.

"It was very windy and we needed all hands on deck as we were getting battered around for sure," Mrs Arnott, who crews at the bow of the boat, said. "I almost went over the side once."

There were no such problems as she cruised to victory in the election, earning her fourth term as mayor – she took more than 75 per cent of the vote to beat her only challenger, Michelle Pyke.

Napier voters endorsed the previous council by re-electing all 11 members who stood again. Ms Pyke took the 12th seat, replacing Harry Lawson who had retired.

Mrs Arnott said construction of the $18 million Hawke's Bay Museum and Art Gallery would help spur the local economy, and other main projects for the new term included the $30m sewerage plant and finding a new use for the Marineland site.

Incumbent Hawke's Bay regional councillors have been re-elected despite questions over their handling of resource consents in the weeks leading up to Saturday's election.

A council-commissioned report looked at the panel that conducted hearings on water allocation and found that chairwoman Christine Scott made the hearings unnecessarily cumbersome; Eileen von Dadelszen did not get on with Mrs Scott; Ewan McGregor was hard of hearing and did not play a large role; and Liz Remmerswaal's passion for the environment did not fit well with the need to make objective judgments.

Chairman Alan Dick said the result showed the public approved of the council's performance.

The Dominion Post