Tong re-elected

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THE results of the local body elections are a mixed bag, with some of the old guard returning to their posts alongside some new faces.

The results are still being finalised for the Southland District Council (SDC), but one position is confirmed – Gary Tong has been re-elected as mayor for his second term.

Mr Tong said in a statement he was pleased to be re-elected and was looking forward to leading a very focused council through the next three years.

“I am really looking forward to meeting the challenges we have and taking the Southland district forward. We want to build on the work the Southland Regional Development Strategy is doing and learn from the past three years.”

The retirement of Lyall Bailey and Rodney Dobson as SDC councillors made way for changes around the council table. The final results are expected to be released this week.

Long-standing Environment Southland (ES) councillors Marion Miller’s and Jan Riddell’s retirement this year meant there was also an opportunity for change in the Invercargill-Rakiura constituency, and the incoming councillors proved strong contenders. Former National MP Eric Roy and community events co-ordinator Lyndal Ludlow took out the two top spots, receiving 10,573 and 9298 votes respectively, ahead of nearest rival Robert Guyton with 8810 votes.

Arguably one of the biggest surprise results was ES chairwoman Ali Timms not being re-elected. The ES councillor of 15 years, who had been the chairwoman for two terms, missed out this year. Newcomers Jeremy McPhail and David Stevens received 3698 and 2545 votes respectively, forcing out Ms Timms and Peter Jones.

The council will elect its new chairperson at the inaugural meeting on October 31.

John Young is the only Invercargill Licensing Trust board member not returning this year. He missed out to former international rugby referee Paddy O’Brien, who took out the top spot with 11,146 votes ahead of second-highest polling candidate Suzanne Prentice, who received 10,559.

– Petrina Wright

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