Updated: Karen Hunt back on council

1 comment
Rotorua Lakes Councillor Karen Hunt.
Rotorua Lakes Councillor Karen Hunt.

Updated at 9.20pm
Late last night district councillor Karen Hunt conceded her time on the Rotorua Lakes Council was over, but in just a few minutes and a count of special votes, she was back in.

Preliminary results for the Rotorua Lakes Council election were released around 8pm and in a stunning turnaround Ms Hunt surged ahead of councillor Mike McVicker by 100 votes - 5808 to 5708.

The news was met with delight by Ms Hunt, who up until then was saying her high-profile role leading Rotorua's inner city revitalisation project could have led to her downfall in Saturday's elections.

She was thrilled with the news.

"The community has made lots of people very happy, including myself, my family and my supporters.

"It's a great recognition of support and I'm very pleased.

"I'm thrilled to be able to continue to support the projects and my work through the [Inner City] portfolio and continue my engagement with the community.

"It is a very humbling reminder we are there to work for the community and it's through their grace that I have been re-elected and we should all know not to take anything for granted."

Mr McVicker said he had been in touch with Rotorua's electoral officer saying he was surprised at the turnaround.

"But I do not want to make any calls about what I'll do at this stage."

He said he did not want to make any further comments.

Ms Hunt was lead councillor for the Inner City Revitalisation portfolio and fronted some of the council's more controversial projects, such as the Green Corridor and health hub.

Mayor Steve Chadwick said it was an amazing result.

"I have been open in my concern about the number of women in council dropping, so to have her back is fantastic.

"Karen is incredibly hard working for the council.

"She has led some of the very contentious issues - for example the symbolic change that sits in the heart of the city. She led and drove this campaign and this did stir up a lot of groups.

"I was so upset that she took the fall for that.

"But we are thrilled to have her back and she is joining a good mix, you need to have hard working councillors and she is certainly that.

"Through this whole process Karen will have learnt that politics can be very fragile. The community has seen sense and made the right decision," Mrs Chadwick said.

Ms Hunt said a lot of people were averse to change and a large group orchestrated a campaign to keep things as they were.

"I had the most visible portfolio that brought about the most obvious changes," she said.

She pointed to projects such as the City Focus redevelopment, the shared library and children's health hub, inner city parking, and the fact she spent 2.5 years on the stakeholder advisory group for the regional council's Rotorua lakes clean-up project as possible issues that stood in the way of her re-election.

"But, I am proud of what I achieved. I got the work done and I said what I meant."

In what came as a surprise to many, one of the Rotorua Lakes Council's hardest working councillors - Janet Wepa - missed out on re-election.

Mrs Chadwick and deputy mayor Dave Donaldson spoke highly of their former council colleague, saying Mrs Wepa had put a huge amount of effort into her portfolio and chairing one of the council's main committees.

Mrs Wepa led the Sustainable Living Portfolio and was chairwoman of the council's Operations and Monitoring committee.

Mrs Wepa did not respond to requests for comment.

Earlier

Karen Hunt is back on the Rotorua Lakes District Council in an election twist tonight.

News has just come in that Ms Hunt has 5808 votes, edging past Mike McVicker on 5708.

Ms Hunt told the Rotorua Daily Post she was thrilled with the news.

"The community has made lots of people very happy, including myself, my family and my supporters."

"It's a great recognition of support and I'm very pleased. I'm thrilled to be able to continue to support the projects and my work through the portfolio and continue engagement with the community.

"It is a very humbling reminder we are there to work for the community and it's through their grace that I have been re-elected and we should all know not to take anything for granted."

More to come.

- Rotorua Daily Post

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 22 Feb 2017 01:10:16 Processing Time: 776ms