Formerly New Zealand's High Commissioner to the Cook Islands and MP for the Northland Electorate of New Zealand.
JOHN CARTER - MAYOR OF THE FAR NORTH DISTRICT OF NEW ZEALAND
An Emphatic Win for Carter
The Northland Age - Tuesday 15 October 2013
From the day he began his campaign, more than two months before the votes were counted on Saturday, John Carter believed he could win the Far North mayoralty. And he did, trouncing his major opponent, incumbent Wayne Brown, by a provisional 9513 votes to 2838.
Mr Brown's deputy Mayor, Ann Court, who easily retained her Far North District Council seat, was third with 2209 votes.
Mr Carter said he had detected a strong mood for change as he campaigned around the district, a mood that also perhaps accounted for two sitting councillors. Steve McNally (Kerikeri) placed seventh in a field of 14 who sought the four Bay of Islands-Whangaroa council seats, his place and that of Tom Baker, who did not seek re-election, being won by Willow-Jean Prime and Tania McInnes.
Monty Knight lost his Te Hiku seat to newcomer David Collard, placing fourth in a field of 11.
Mr Carter said his first priority would be to win the confidence of the people of the Far North. His campaigning had revealed a lack of confidence in the council to be a major issue, and he believed this was one of the reasons for the voter turnout of around 40 per cent.
"People have lost faith in the council, and we have to change that. We have to earn people's respect again," he said.
"There are other pressing issues - finances, Kerikeri's sewerage, Kaitaia's water supply, road maintenance - a whole raft of stuff that we need to look at with some urgency," he added.
He thanked Mr Brown and the last term's councillors, re-elected or otherwise, for the contributions they had made, and gave an assurance that council staff would have the support they needed from the Mayor and councillors to get on with their work.
Rueben Taipari Porter, who made his mayoralty bid with no local government history, said he was happy with his result but despaired at the "pathetic" voter turnout. Participation had held at the 2010 level, however, and he believed he had contributed to that.
"I don't know how we can lift Maori participation but we have to keep trying," he said.
He and Mr Carter were planning to work together on issues including youth, but he would contest the mayoralty again at the next opportunity. The Far North still needed inspirational leadership, and without offence to Mr Carter, he could not see much changing over the coming term.
Mita Harris, another who was making his local authority debut, was also disappointed by the turnout but congratulated Mr Carter on his "landslide". People had been looking for change; Mr Carter had benefited from that, "and good on him," he added.
Thank you for VOTING JOHN CARTER FOR MAYOR
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