Election may be close encounter

By Matthew Martin

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A hotly contested local-body election is predicted this year.   Photo/File
A hotly contested local-body election is predicted this year. Photo/File

Elections for the Rotorua Lakes Council will be with us in no time, 10 months to be precise, and this year looks like it could be one of the most hotly contested elections in recent times.

Those running for council will be looking to fill 10 seats, two fewer than the current council, after councillors voted to go ahead with changes including the introduction of a rural community board, the retention of the Lakes Community Board and the recent introduction of the controversial Te Tatau o Te Arawa Board.

They also narrowly voted to reduce the number of councillors from 12 to 10.

Rotorua's largest ratepayer group, the Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers, are mobilising their forces to try and fill as many seats as possible, while 10 of the 12 incumbent councillors have stated they would like to be re-elected.

Thown into the mix is the possibility of an online voting trial. Rotorua's council is one of eight councils around the country that have asked to be involved, with the Government to make the final decision on a trial sometime next month.

Online voting would be conducted in tandem with the regular postal voting process and would cost the council an additional $45,000 on top of the $110,000 budgeted for regular postal voting.

So far four people have indicated they want to run for mayor - incumbent Steve Chadwick, Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers endorsed candidate Dr Reynold Macpherson, incumbent councillor Rob Kent and Rangimarie Bosma, who ran for mayor in 2013.

Last election 31 people ran for the 12 positions around the council table.

Nominations for elections open on July 15 and close on August 12.

Key election dates 2016:
- July 15: Nominations open for candidates
- August 12: Nominations close at noon. Electoral rolls close.
- August 17: Election date and candidates' names publicised by
electoral officers.
- September 16-21: Voting documents delivered to households.
- October 8: Polling day. Voting closes at noon. Preliminary results
available.
- October 13-19: Full results expected.

2013 election results:
Mayor: Steve Chadwick 11,630 votes, Kevin Winters 4789, Rob Kent 2462, Janine Rangimarie Bosma 384, Helen Hindmarsh 331

- Elected councillors: Merepeka Raukawa-Tait 10,145 votes, Trevor Maxwell 9162, Charles Sturt 9004, Dave Donaldson 8955, Tania Tapsell 8798, Mark Gould 8453, Karen Hunt 8238, Peter Bentley 8123, Glenys Searancke 7761, Janet Wepa 6984, Rob Kent 6830, Mike McVicker 6619

- Rotorua Daily Post

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