8 Oct 2022

New Dunedin mayor Jules Radich: Landslide results shows need for change in direction

5:05 pm on 8 October 2022

Incoming Dunedin mayor Jules Radich says he wants to be an inclusive leader for the whole city after he unseated first-term mayor Aaron Hawkins in a landslide in the southern city.

New Dunedin mayor Jules Radich.

New Dunedin mayor Jules Radich. Photo: Supplied

Dunedin uses the single transferable vote system and on the final iteration, Radich had more than double the votes of Hawkins, with fellow first-time councillor Sophie Barker in third. The results are based off 90 percent of votes counted.

Radich said today's result showed the city was unhappy with the direction of the past three years.

Radich ran on the Team Dunedin ticket in direct opposition to the policies of Hawkins. Team Dunedin was also likely to have three candidates at the council table.

Radich said his landslide victory and other results in the southern city showed there was a desire for a change to the city's direction.

"I mean this is quite a reaction to what's been happening in Dunedin over the last three years and in line with democratic principles there needs to be change," Radich said.

He wanted to focus on keeping the city's debt in check and providing greater confidence to residents.

Hawkins said he was devastated to lose the Dunedin mayoral chains to his rival.

He became the first official Green Party candidate to be elected to a mayoral office in New Zealand in 2019 after serving two terms as a Dunedin city councillor.

Hawkins did not seek a councillors' seat at the election.

There was a clear appetite for change across the country, he said.

"I'm devastated obviously at the outcome, but it would appear we are seeing around the country a concerted push against the establishment, whatever that looks like in different parts of the motu, and we are not immune to that."

Hawkins oversaw a continuation of progressive policies in the city, including a big capital spend.

"I have no regrets about the work that we've done. I'm incredibly proud of the work that we've done over the last three years and hopefully the incoming council can see it in themselves to carry on with some of that work," he told RNZ.

See how the day's local election news unfolded with RNZ's live blog

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