Women triumph in 2016 local election

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Female domination: Sandra Hazlehurst was the highest polling candidate for the Hastings District Council and was one of many female candidates who triumphed this election.
Female domination: Sandra Hazlehurst was the highest polling candidate for the Hastings District Council and was one of many female candidates who triumphed this election.

The highest polling candidates in this year's election for all four city or district councils were women.

The last time this happened was in 2007 when Kathie Furlong topped the Napier City Council, Cynthia Bowers the Hastings District Council, Sally Butler the Central Hawke's Bay District Council and Denise Eagleson the Wairoa District Council.

In the 2010 and 2013 election only two out of the four councils were won by female candidates.

Sandra Hazlehurst, who received the highest number of votes from Hastings voters, said it was all very exciting.

"I think it is really good that women are so successful this year. For our council we now have eight men to six women, which is one more than last year."

She said having a balance was extremely important because men and women have different strengths, which could work to complement each other.

"If we have this balance we can get holistic decision making and a more holistic approach to how we go about doing things on council."

Kirsten Wise, the highest polling candidate for the Napier City Council, said although it was fantastic women were so successful she still hoped for a 50/50 split one day.

"I am a huge advocate for more women in governance and I think it is really important we have a strong voice."

She said she had spoken to high schools around Hawke's Bay to try to encourage more young girls and women to enter in to governance.

"We can offer a different perspective on things, which might be different to men."

Kelly Annand, who received the highest number of votes from the Central Hawke's Bay District Council, also said it was great news.

"Wow way to go Hawke's Bay, it is fantastic. It is really good to see the community supporting us and it is also very encouraging."

She said balance and diversity were vital and important around the council table.

Denise Eaglesome-Karekare, the highest polling candidate on the Wairoa District Council, said her mother had always told her women have really important things to say.

"I think it is good to have a voice around the table, as the genders see things differently. I think we have a more empathic and emotional opinion to issues, which gives us a different outlook."

The Tararua District, which is not included in the Hawke's Bay Regional Council area, had a male as the top polling candidate but joined in on the success of women with Tracey Collis elected as mayor.

The Eketahuna girl stormed home with 2722 votes ahead of Allan Benbow on 1745.

"I gave it my best shot and am thrilled voters throughout the district supported me."

Alex Walker has been crowned the new mayor of Central Hawke's Bay and joins Mrs Collis, as the two female mayors for the region.

The Hawke's Bay Regional Council remained unbalanced with only one female candidate, Debbie Hewitt, on the council.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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