'I’m very relieved': Stoltz re-elected Gisborne mayor in dominant victory

2:20 pm on 10 October 2022
Deon and Rehette Stoltz

Gisborne mayor Rehette Stoltz (right) celebrating her successful re-election with partner Deon. Photo: Supplied/ Local Democracy Reporting - Gisborne Herald/Paul Rickard

Rehette Stoltz has secured a second term as mayor of Gisborne with an emphatic win, more than 4000 votes clear of her nearest rival.

Progress results show Stoltz romped home on Saturday with 6544 votes, followed by Colin Alder on 2342 votes, Rhonda Tibble on 1935 votes and Darin Brown on 744 votes.

Surrounded by supporters at her home, Stoltz told Local Democracy Reporting she was pleased by the result, and excited for the next three years as mayor.

"I'm very relieved. I was actually in mid-air when the results came out.

"When I landed, there were 35 messages on my phone. I'm very, very happy and excited about the term ahead of us."

South African-born Stoltz arrived in New Zealand in 2001 on an OE, ultimately settling in Tairāwhiti with partner Deon.

She was first elected to council in 2010 and was appointed deputy mayor by Meng Foon in 2013.

When Foon left his position to become the Race Relations Commissioner in 2019, she was made mayor in the interim.

Stoltz said a major focus of the upcoming term would be existing issues such as Three Waters, the Future for Local Government Review and the Resource Management Act review.

She was "very happy" with the selection of councillors, and would reach out to them individually on Sunday.

"Democracy is our community telling us who they want to be our voices at the table. Our community spoke today, we have got a new council."

Stoltz also had a word of encouragement for those who missed out this election.

"I want to congratulate everyone. It's tough putting your name forward and putting your mug on a billboard.

"To those ones who didn't make it today, great effort, and maybe next time."

Gisborne District Council is made up of one mayor elected at large and 13 councillors.

The council will be home to eight new faces this term, with three changes in the general ward and five new councillors coming in under the newly-formed Māori ward.

New general ward councillors include Colin Alder (1345 votes), Rob Telfer (953 votes) and Charlie Reynolds (882 votes).

Deputy mayor Josh Wharehinga (1612 votes) was the top polling general ward candidate, and will be re-joined by incumbents Larry Foster (967 votes), Andy Cranston (951 votes), Debbie Gregory (947 votes) and Tony Robinson (935 votes).

Three-term councillor Meredith Akuhata-Brown missed out on re-election, finishing ninth in the general ward with 815 votes.

Successful Māori ward candidates include Rhonda Tibble (640 votes), Nick Tupara (447 votes), Aubrey Ria (471 votes), Ani Pahuru-Huriwai (432 votes) and Rawinia Parata (425 votes).

Stoltz said councillors would begin an intensive two-week induction from Monday.

Down the road in Wairoa, Craig Little secured his fourth term as mayor.

The election was the first held in Gisborne under single transferable voting, meaning candidates must reach a certain number of votes to be elected. Surplus votes are made available to other candidates.

Voting numbers were rounded to the nearest whole for this story.

Official results won't be released until special votes have been counted.

Local Democracy Reporting is Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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