13 Oct 2013

Far North, Whangarei have new mayors

2:05 pm on 13 October 2013

Former National MP for Northland John Carter has won the mayoral race in the Far North District.

Mr Carter resigned as New Zealand High Commissioner to the Cook Islands in July to return to his home in the Far North and contest the mayoralty.

He won by a landslide, with 8521 votes to incumbent Wayne Brown's 2502.

Mr Carter says one of his top priorities is attracting new business and jobs to the district, even though the government now wants councils to focus primarily on providing infrastructure and essential services.

He says that doesn't mean councils can't work on ways to attract industry and employment where it's badly needed.

Mr Brown, who has served two terms, said he had phoned Mr Carter to offer his congratulations.

"I've contacted him to congratulate him on winning the mayoralty, and I'm sure he'll do his best for the Far North," he said.

"I've told him I'm only a phone call away if he wants my support."

Mr Brown said he was proud of his achievements in his two terms as mayor, including debt reduction, the building of facilities like Kaitaia's new civic centre, and a large portion of the Far North coast-to-coast cycle track.


The new mayor of Whangarei says she will bring a new style of governance to the district starting with her office.

Sheryl Mai won just over 5400 votes in the preliminary count, more than 1300 ahead of her nearest rival, councillor Greg Martin.

Ms Mai wants to move the mayor's office from the top floor of the council building - down to the foyer - where people can find her.

She says the old cafe and courtyard on the ground floor would be a much better location.

Ms Mai says she wants to resolve community divisions over the Hundertwasser gallery project, and bring the council debt cap down from $160 million to $150 million.

She is promising to change the culture of the council to one of openness, service to the community and respect for its views.

Former mayor Stan Semenoff came third in the mayoral race followed by Vince Cocorullo and accountant Warwick Syers.

Regional chair 'can work with' mayors

Northland Regional Council chairman Craig Brown says the region finally has two mayors who can work together and with whom he can work.

There has been friction between the Far North District Council and the regional council, culminating in a bid by Wayne Brown to dismantle the regional council and set up two unitary authorities.

Mr Brown says Wayne Brown's defeat may make it less likely that this will happen.

He says the parochial arguments of recent years make no sense in a region with a population of just 150,000 which struggles to provide services to its people.