Shock exits and new faces means change at Napier City Council

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CHANGE: Napier Mayor Bill Dalton said he had conflicting emotions about the change to those joining him around the Napier City Council table. PHOTO/FILE
CHANGE: Napier Mayor Bill Dalton said he had conflicting emotions about the change to those joining him around the Napier City Council table. PHOTO/FILE

With the shock exits of three incumbent councillors, and the addition of four new ones, change is being heralded at Napier City Council.

This weekend's local body elections held their share of suprises -with the elections of four new councillors, and the un-seating of three incumbent councillors - Mark Herbert, Mark Hamilton and Michelle Pyke.

Unopposed mayor Bill Dalton said he had conflicting emotions about the change around the Napier City Council table.

Losing three of his existing council members was extremely saddening.

"I'm going to miss Mark Herbert's experience and dedication, Michelle Pyke's empathy with the people on struggle street, and Mark Hamilton was a refreshing and intelligent man."

However, he said the four "excellent new councillors" would bring new ideas to the table.

By winning the Ahuriri ward, Larry Dallimore unseated 18-year incumbent Mr Herbert.

The Westhore beach campaigner was looking forward to getting down to business on council.

"I'm so appreciative of all the support I've gotten, and the people who voted for [Mr Herbert], well I hope I can please them," he said.

Mr Herbert said he would have liked to have done one more term, but had a number of achievements from his time on council including McLean Park, Ocean Spa, MTG and the War Memorial Conference Centre redevelopment.

Former Napier Girls' High School principal Claire Hague is the new face of the six councillors elected in the at-large ward.

"Napier's on a roll, and I'm really looking forward to being part of that for the next three years," she said.

As a newcomer, she said there would be a lot for her to learn, which she could do alongisde returning councillors Kirsten Wise, Tony Jeffery, Richard McGrath, and Faye White.

All said they were delighted to be returning, and thankful to those who had supported them with their votes.

While they were sad to see their colleagues miss out on re-election, they expressed sentiments that this was democracy in action.

Ms Wise said "change is always good, it's good to have some new input".

With elections over, they were looking forward to getting back into council projects - from the Marine Parade redevelopment for Keith Price, to developing a new swimming pool for Mr McGrath.

The Nelson Park ward has been filled by running pair Maxine Boag and Apiata Tapine.

On Saturday Mr Tapine became the first Maori person to be elected on to the council.

"It is so exciting and purifying to be the first Maori and I think it will bring great diversity to the table," Mr Tapine said.

The incumbent Ms Boag said it was great for Maraenui having Mr Tapine on board, as he would be able to give them a voice and add to their capabilities.

In Taradale, Graeme Taylor has retained a seat, and will be joined by former councillor Tania Wright.

Mr Taylor said as there had been a few changes it was going to be "an interesting time", but he was looking forward to getting back into projects, and the next three years.

After a three year hiatus, Ms Wright said she was delighted to be back at the council table.

"I want to finish the work that I started and ensure that Napier is the best place to work and live," she said.

All councillors would get to know one another at a function this Friday, where the work schedule would also be given out.

Yesterday Mr Dalton said he had not decided on who would be his deputy mayor, other than stating "suffice to say I'm a very loyal person".

There was a "huge amount of potential in the pipeline" for Napier through its councillors - with the new ones needing to quickly get up to speed, he said.

Being elected unopposed meant Mr Dalton had spent the past weeks working on a programme to help with this, which would mean all councillors had a "huge workload" between now and Christmas.

"It's going to be a very positive three years."

Mr Hamilton and Ms Pyke could not be reached for comment yesterday.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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