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All-male line-up for another local govt term

October 19th, 2013
[by David Armstrong]

The voters in Motueka ward have decided to be led politically for the next three years by seven men, including every incumbent who stood again for the local body elections.

Results showed that despite there being an extraordinary offering of new ideas from highly qualified mainly younger candidates, the majority of voters preferred to stay with the mainly older all-male existing batch. (Plus, of course, a male Mayor and male local MP.)

It means, furthermore, that the average age of ward councillors and Community Board members will be more than six years older at the end of this term than at the start of the previous term.

The FINAL result for the Mayor, Motueka Ward Councillor and Motueka Community Board elections is as follows:

Richard Kempthorne  -  6,626
Kit Maling  -  5,795
Maxwell Clark  -  1,906
Steve Richards  -  1,845
Gary Watson  -  1,293

Ward Councillor:
Jack Inglis  -  2,282
Peter Canton  -  2,096
Barry Dowler  -  2,074
Tara Forde  --  1,815
Paul Blackham  -  1,340
Rob Francis  -  688
Gail Jewell  -  629

Community Board:
David Ogilvie  -  2,431
Paul Hawkes  -  2,017
Richard Horrell  -  1,867
Cliff Satherley  -  1,636
Kendall Riley  -  1,557
Dana Wensley  -  988
Dave Lelong  --  895
Linda Glew  -  860
Linda Woodgate  -  748
Anna Louise Cole  -  581
Boris Leegwater  -  428
Russlel Loder  -  307

The final voter return was 49.95%, being 17,633 voting papers, including special votes.

Local Facebook pages featured many comments critical of the outcome.

"Sadly my hopes of change when I stepped down in 2007 were dashed in the same way. Just so disappointing, and depressing to realise how long we will have to wait before change comes. Until young people wake up to the important role local govt plays in their lives (far greater than central govt) I don't think things will change," wrote Patricia O'Shea, a Councillor until 2007.

"Even though I no longer live in Motueka I was saddened to read the results of the elections," wrote Val Rae, a recent president of Grey Power Motueka. "Same old same old. Patricia, I would like to say I don't think it's the young that need to wake up, it's the older population who are stuck in the rut and who believe the present men are representing the town well.

"Another 3 years until a younger generation can have another go, let's hope for Mot's sake voters finally see sense in having new blood in chambers and on the community board."

"I can't believe so many good women stood in our ward and yet we once again have ended up with the largest portion of our population not represented on either Community Board or Council. What about women only voting for women the next time around!" suggested Jan Baily.

What do other readers think? If you have an opinion, please submit it here.


Comment by Jenny Blacklock:
[Posted 14 October 2013]

What a great opportunity missed. New, younger and also female blood, could've made such a difference to our town. Surely this was the time to make some changes and "Suggest by voting" that some people should retire with dignity and let the new blood take over. I certainly agree with you Val Rae.

Comment by Malcolm Garrett:
[Posted 19 October 2013]

Sorry to see so many women missing from the local govt roles too. However, many of them did not actively campaign for votes, by the old-fashioned door-knocking methods. A good shove by personal contact would have helped. I certainly did my bit by supporting people that I knew would enhance local affairs. I have nothing against any of the successful people - perhaps we need just a few more faces around the table as a whole? Three more years away, I wonder who will stand then?

Comment by Jim Butler:
[Posted 21 October 2013]

As an 88 year old who votes in every election, my suggestion to potential candidates for the 2016 local body elections is to begin to publicise your intentions from now on. Particularly to the over 60s voters. Many of this age group regularly read the newspapers, listen to the radio and TV news and have a 80% voting record at any election.

I think I'm reasonably good at keeping in touch with local affairs, but until the recent local body elections, I had not heard of one of the candidates wanting to become Mayor, two of the candidates wanting to become Motueka Ward Councillors and four of the candidates wanting to become Motueka Community Board members. I have no doubt that these candidates were well known within their own circles. But were they well known to many in the over 60 group of voters? For it is this group who largely decides who will be the successful candidates.

Comment by Ron Sharp:
[Posted 21 October 2013]

I ashamedly have to agree with all the commentators on the stagnant make up of our local body elections - no women and no youth - patch up maintenance as usual!

Comment by William Cleaver:
[Posted 27 October 2013]

It's amazing how a thought can fester in you head for some time with little or no sense to make of it. Then BING, the light goes on and you realize it's all as clear as the water from the Resurgence on Riwaka River. If you want a place to rest in upon old age, or a warrant for your car, you would have to vote Barry Dowler and Jack Inglis in. But Pete Canton has me stuffed.

Being a cobbler has an old-school ring about it, and surely by now all that's left of the older voting generation must have disposed of hobnail boots and repairable roman sandals. So I'm thinking that if any of the newbies want a crack next time, you all going to have to change your preferred occupation. Suggestions are undertaker, pharmacist, nurse, doctor, cup of tea and scone maker. Good luck.

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