There might still be a chance that Sally Macauley will hold her seat in the Kaikohe Ward, and neither Mate Radich nor Dave Collard are secure in Te Hiku, but according to the preliminary election results, released on Sunday night, the new Far North District Council will comprise Ann Court, Kelly Stratford, Rachel Smith and David Clendon in the Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Ward; John Vujcich and Moko Tepania in Kaikohe-Hokianga; and Felicity Foy, Mate Radich and David Collard in Te Hiku.
The newcomers are Smith, a community board member in Kerikeri for the past three years; Clendon, a former Green MP, who also lives in Kerikeri; Tepania, a teacher at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Kaikohe; and Kaitaia businessman David Collard, who served one term from 2013.
And even before the final results are posted, it seems likely that Kerikeri will require a by-election for the community board, Smith having already won a seat, with no election required. She cannot occupy seats on both the council and community board.
The same applies in the Kaikohe subdivision of the Kaikohe — Hokianga Community Board, Moko Tepania winning seats both on the board and council. However, given that there were more community board candidates than seats, the board position will go to the next highest-polling candidate, which according to the preliminary results will be Mike Edmonds, who chaired the board for the last three years.
Meanwhile Hazely Windelborn is only 33 votes behind Collard in Te Hiku, and 34 behind Radich, with the special votes yet to be counted.
It was not a great outcome for some of the high-profile candidates, including reformed gang leader Jay Hepi, social activist and former Green MP Sue Bradford and Op Shop singer Jason Kerrison, but at least the Far North bucked the national trend, with an increase in voter turnout over 2016. As of Friday the turnout was 40.4 per cent, compared to 37.1 per cent at the same point three years ago, and that figure was expected to rise once all votes were tallied.