Rachel Reese says her massive win to reclaim the mayoralty is “a real vote of confidence” in her vision for Nelson.
Reese collected 10,611 votes, against her major rival Pete Rainey’s 4500 in the provisional results released by Nelson City Council this afternoon.
Both Reese and Rainey say they were shocked by the size of the gap between the two.
The other shock was around the council table, where five newcomers have been elected and three incumbents voted out.
Mike Ward and Pete Rainey didn’t stand for reelection as councillors.
The newcomers are Mike Rutledge, Bill Dahlberg, Stuart Walker, Mel Courtney and Trudie Brand.
The three that weren’t reelected are Ruth Copeland, Kate Fulton and Eric Davy.
Rachel was jovial when interviewed at her home after the results were announced.
“I’ve just got to thank the people of Nelson because it’s a real vote of confidence for the direction I’ve set for the city. Quite humbling, an absolute privilege again. I love the role and certainly quite an affirming result.”
She sent her congratulations to the councillors elected and says it will be a chance to have a more united council. “We have an opportunity now to really work together on some of the tough issues. Nelson’s ready and I’m ready to realise some of the opportunities sitting out there. I think we have a very bright future.”
Of the 12 councillors elected, nine have stated that they are supportive of a proposed Southern Link road from Annesbrook to Port Nelson. The only three elected who are not supportive of it are Brian McGurk, Luke Acland and Matt Lawrey.
On her new colleagues, Rachel says she was surprised by some of the names who were elected.
“I wouldn’t have made money if I bet on it, put it that way. There’s been more movement than I expected, I’ll be upfront about that. But if I look at that list there are people that ran strong campaigns, they were out there engaging with the public.”
Pete Rainey was meeting at the Freehouse with supporters and other candidates, it was a more somber mood but Pete thanked supporters and congratulated those candidates in attendance who were reelected. “I have to say it was disappointing that the election campaign was affected by dirty politics and I hope the people involved in that have a think about how this sort of thing impacts on the political scene – being subjected to this sort of muck-throwing no doubt has an influence on whether good people are prepared to put themselves forward for public office.
“As to the Southern Link – I hope the candidates and their backers who tried to make this a single issue election are ready to actually make objective decisions on council and do what is best for Nelson on all issues.”
He says he’s looking forward to spending more time with his family, throwing himself into the music and events industry where “there are a lot of great opportunities to develop”.
Luke Acland says it’s good to be back. “It’s a new council and at first blush it looks to be a shift to the right which is going to be interesting to work with. ”
Brian McGurk says he’s looking forward to continuing and congratulated Rachel on her campaign.
“I’m happy with my result, I’ve knocked on over 10,000 doors and it looks like I’ve got a good solid mandate.”
Tim Skinner was on a boat photographing a wedding when the results came in. He said he was shocked to be the highest-polling candidate. “I thought I might get mid-to-bottom of the elected councillors so I was very happy with the result.”
The voter return was 48.35 per cent being 17,488 voting papers, excluding voting papers in transit to the processing centre and special votes.
Rachel Reese 10,611; Pete Rainey 4500; Graeme O’Brien 1714; Richard Osmaston 397.
Councillors (12 vacancies):
Tim Skinner 8185; Brian McGurk 8029; Mike Rutledge 7979; Paul Matheson 7442; Matt Lawrey 7354; Gaile Noonan 7300; Bill Dahlberg 7125; Luke Acland 6674; Ian Barker 6646; Stuart Walker 6619; Mel Courtney 6358; Trudie Brand 6242.
Those who missed out were:
Kate Fulton 6101; Eric Davy 6048; Kindra Douglas 5786; Ruth Copeland 5424; Derek Shaw 5347; Cindy Batt 5339; Graeme O’Brien 5034; Kevin Gardener 4940; Cynthia McConville 4868; Derek Nees 4505; Stephen Alder 4262; Heather Bryant 3915; Rosina Cornelissen 2131; Glen Daikee 2106; Sunny Daly 1998; Robbie Kavanagh 1748.