The mayoral race in the Far North was lacklustre in comparison with some others around the country with only an 11th-hour nomination by Waipapa motoring writer Peter Gill stopping incumbent John Carter from being elected unopposed.
While Mr Carter, who was previously the MP for Northland for 24 years, was the clear winner with a provisional tally of 9881 votes, Mr Gill polled a respectable 4118. Mr Gill's strong showing surprised many given his relatively low profile, low-key campaign and the fact he has lived in the Far North only since 2013.
The Far North election brought only minor changes around the council table.
In the Bay of Islands-Whangaroa ward Willow-Jean Prime (4405 votes), Ann Court (4155) and deputy mayor Tania McInnes (2845) were all returned, while Dave Hookway - a mohawked public health worker and former owner of a well-known Waipapa takeaway store who has contested several elections in the past - was rewarded for his perseverance with 2774 votes and a place at the council table.
Former councillor Di Maxwell did not stand.
In the Te Hiku ward Kaitaia fire chief Colin Kitchen collected the largest share of the vote (2701). Also voted on were newcomer and former council employee Felicity Foy (1921) and sitting councillor Mate Radich (1838). Kaitaia publican and one-term councillor Dave Collard failed to win back his seat.
The two seats for the Kaikohe-Hokianga ward were won by sitting councillors John Vujcich (1919) and Sally Macauley (1459).
Overall the number of nominations in the Far North, especially for the mayoralty, was well down on the 2013 elections. At community board level many candidates were elected unopposed, including a rare grandfather-granddaughter duo on the Kaikohe-Hokianga Community Board. Kelly van Gaalen was the highest polling community board candidate in the 2013 elections but had to stand down last year when she went on trial for possession of cannabis for supply. Her grandfather, Sean Reilly, is a well-known Kaikohe identity who has contested virtually every local election in recent years. The full community board results will follow.
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