Two new faces, three mayors keep jobs

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Three incumbent mayors have managed to hold on to their jobs, while two new mayors have been elected in contests across the Hawke's Bay region.

Of the five mayors elected, only Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule, who returns for a fifth term, has signaled his support for amalgamation of councils. The other mayors elected were Craig Little in Wairoa, Bill Dalton in Napier, Peter Butler in Central Hawke's Bay and Roly Elliss in Tararua District.

There were a few surprises in the Hawke's Bay Regional Council elections with a few new faces being elected and a few old timers hang on to their seats.

Meanwhile in a referendum to decide whether or not Hastings' water supply should continue to be fluoridated, the provisional results released today showed there were 9512 votes for ``yes'' and 5461 for ``no''.

New Napier Mayor-elect, Bill Dalton, says he is surprised by the size of his winning margin.

retired sharebroker Mr Dalton had a margin of 4673 over runner-up and school principal Roy Sye, who had led the only ticket in the election.

Mr Dalton, 62, heard the news of his election at home with wife Shirley and his 2 sons and a daughter in what is becoming a Napier version of Downing St,

Departing Mayor Barbara Arnott lives almost across the road, and others in the narrow, dead-end hilltop neighbourhood have included former Napier MP Russell Fairbrother and former Mayoral deputy and current East Coast MP, and two others who have been councillors.

While topping a recent Hawke's Bay Today snap campaign meeting poll on the Mayoralty, Mr Dalton said he was surprised by the size of his winning margin.

"You never know what to expect," he said.

Having expressed strong opposition to local Government amalgamation, he vowed to still work closely with returned Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule, saying that both really want the same outcome - a "strong, vibrant Hawke's Bay" - although they have differences about how that can be best achieved.

Meanwhile Mr Yule said moving Hawke's Bay towards council amalgamation would be his main focus over the next 12 months.

"I know I have been a lone voice on this (amalgamation) in terms of the other mayors, (former Napier mayor) Barbara Arnott was opposed, CHB mayor Peter Butler was opposed.

"It doesn't really change my view because at the end of the day it's what people want, it's a public decision."

Mr Yule said it was possible a merged Hawke's Bay council could be set up by 2015.

He said he understood smaller communities such as Wairoa and Central Hawke's Bay were worried they would lose their identity if consumed by a larger council.

"People have said that all along since this debate begun. If you look at the amalgamation of Havelock North into Hastings in 1989, people said the same thing but you would have to say that Havelock North still has its own identity."

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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