In a clear victory, Paula Southgate fought off competition from incumbent Andrew King and fellow councillor Angela O'Leary to be elected Hamilton's new mayor.

In 2016, Mrs Southgate and Mr King contested one of the tightest mayoralty results in New Zealand history, with Mrs Southgate missing out by six votes.

This year Mrs Southgate was elected by 13,452 votes, while King had 10,315 votes.

There has been no change among the council ranks since the results were announced, with Ewan Wilson narrowly holding on to his West Ward spot over Louise Hutt.


Mrs Southgate told Hamilton News she was elated by the result.

"I'm so very grateful for the support I've received over the election campaign. I knew I couldn't take anything for granted in the campaign," Mrs Southgate said.

"I want to congratulate Andrew and Angela on a hard-fought campaign and I know from last time how it feels to miss out when you work so hard."

Mrs Southgate said she plans to meet with the new council over the next few days and set about forming the team that will run the city for the next three years.

"I hope to touch base and congratulate all the new councillors and get to work on forming a strong team to lead the city."

Mrs Southgate was the only elected member invited to speak at a special council staff meeting on Wednesday, when the entire staff closed offices and gathered for a team talk at Claudelands event centre.

The Hamilton East Ward councillors. Photo / Hamilton City Council
The Hamilton East Ward councillors. Photo / Hamilton City Council

She told Hamilton News she was surprised to hear the results, especially in the East ward with such a large shake-up, but was happy with the team she would be working with.

There may have not been a youth quake around the council table, but there has been a female shake-up with a gender split running almost evenly down the elected members.


The additions of Kesh Naidoo-Rauf, Maxine van Oosten, Sarah Thompson and the return of Margaret Forsyth means that council will now have five female councillors and seven male councillors, led by Mrs Southgate.

"It does sound like a very good and strong group of people to be working with."

"I'm glad Mark Bunting is back, although we may not agree on ideas, he has always shown me respect and I do appreciate that."

Mr King failing to be re-elected leaves Julie Hardaker the only mayor since Margaret Evans to be re-elected after a first term.

Speaking to Hamilton News after hearing he was not re-elected, Mr King said that he will look back at his three years as mayor with fondness, and that he has no regrets.

"I've always said I was going to do what was right over what was popular," Mr King said.
"I've congratulated Paula, I'm in a good place and it is time for me to move on with my life."

Mr King received criticism for raising the rates by 9.7 per cent, and going against public consultation and purchasing properties on Victoria Streets, with plans to open up the city to the river.

The Hamilton West Ward councillors. Photo / Hamilton City Council
The Hamilton West Ward councillors. Photo / Hamilton City Council

Four-term city councillor Angela O'Leary announced on Facebook she was unsuccessful for the mayoralty, but will continue to serve as a West Ward councillor.

Around the council table there has been a shake up, with councillors James Casson, Garry Mallett, Leo Tooman and Siggi Henry failing to be elected.

In their place are Kesh Naidoo-Rauf, Margaret Forsyth and Maxine van Oosten who join returning councillors Mark Bunting, Ryan Hamilton and Rob Pascoe on the East Ward.

On the West ward, Sarah Thompson and Ewan Wilson join Angela O'Leary, Dave Macpherson, Geoff Taylor and Martin Gallagher.

A date for the new council to be sworn in has yet to be set, but will happen later in the month, with the first set of council meetings due to begin later in the year.

The council will be tasked with developing, or updating the current 10-year plan, and setting the direction for which way the city goes over the next three years. There have already been posts on social media from elected members that the council would be strongly focused on alternative transport, climate change and affordable housing.