Paul Bailey happy to be part of new direction of Hawke's Bay Regional Council + VIDEO

By Victoria White

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The culture at Hawke's Bay Regional Council could change, now anti-dam campaigner Paul Bailey sits at the council table.

Based upon the counting of approximately 98 per cent of the returned voting papers, Mr Bailey will be representing the Napier ward alongside former regional councillor Neil Kirton, and incumbent Alan Dick.

Today, Mr Bailey said he was feeling very humble that nearly 8000 people appeared to have voted for him.

"I'm up to the task," he said, "and I'm very happy to be part of this".

Mr Bailey said he was looking forward to the challenge of changing the culture around the council table, and at council.

"I'm very pleased that the people of Hawke's Bay have spoken out that they are unhappy with the direction of the previous council, and I'm happy to be part of a new direction."

"The people of Hawke's Bay were tired at being told they could not drink their water, and swim in their rivers," he said.

Although tension had been building over the past week as he waited for the results, Mr Bailey would now celebrating with a get-together with friends.

He and Mr Kirton are the only new additions to the council - with all other incumbents seeking re-election successful - however their presence could shift the councils support on the controversial Ruataniwha dam.

Napier ward hopefuls Martin Williams and Moira Irving - who had stated their support for the dam - have not been elected.

Based on progress results, there appears to have been no change to the incumbents of other wards.

Incumbent Wairoa councillor, Fenton Wilson, who served as chairman for the past term will be returning to council with a 200 vote lead over opponent Dean Whaanga.

Incumbent Hastings ward councillors of Rex Graham, Rick Barker, and Tom Belford have been voted in - with current Hastings District Mayor Cynthia Bowers and Tim Gilbertsoon appearing to have missed out.

Debbie Hewitt has retained the Central Hawke's Bay seat, against dam-opponent Dan Elderkamp, and Peter Beaven will return to represent the Ngaruroro constituency over Dan Ross.

Progress result do not include some special votes and voting papers returned today that are still in transit to the processing centre.

The outcome of these elections may change once all voting papers have been counted.

A HBRC spokeswoman said they would be providing preliminary results late tomorrow - after 4pm - which, in some cases might change the result significantly.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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