New blood and part of the old guard will now represent the Tauranga City Council's Te Papa and Welcome Bay ward following a tense wait for final votes in this year's local body elections. Business owner Tina Salisbury has become an elected member for the first time while seasoned councillor Bill Grainger enters his fifth term. The two successful candidates talk to Kiri Gillespie about what they hope to bring, overcoming past hurdles and just how close those final votes were.
Tina Salisbury had been enjoying a quiet glass of bubbles when she learned she had won a seat as an elected member on the Tauranga City Council.
The IT business owner and church pastor said she had been celebrating that regardless of the result, life had already changed.
"Just the campaign itself had changed me. I was stronger than I thought, I was richer for the experience, whether I got in or not. I was celebrating that when the phone rang."
With 2907 votes, Salisbury received the most of any of the candidates standing for the Te Papa-Welcome Bay ward.
"I think I had to ask him to repeat himself. I was really, really surprised."
Salisbury has spent countless hours - often behind the scenes - organising community family events, helping support youth and teaching technology to the elderly. Her venture to become a councillor for the city was her first.
"It shows me that campaigning positively and collaboratively was effective. People do not need all of that negative stuff than can often come with politics," she said.
Salisbury will put aside most of her community and business commitments to focus on her new role. She hopes to reclaim some volunteer work once settled into the new role.
"I feel like as a city councillor we can do better and really listen to people."
Salisbury had been the ward's front runner since preliminary results were released last Saturday. Those results showed former councillor Terry Molloy coming in second, with former Welcome Bay Community Centre manager Anna Larsen close behind in third. However, special votes were yet to be counted.
On Thursday, final results showed councillor Bill Grainger overtook Molloy and Larsen to take the second spot with 2386 votes. Larsen came third with 2368.
"There were only 18 votes in it," Grainger said.
"I've had a pretty good run over the last four terms and, this one, I knew things were going to be closer, for sure."
Grainger, 65, acknowledged the former council's role in key issues such as the Greerton Village and former Phoenix carpark upgrades plus the Bella Vista fallout. He knew people wanted change and admitted he was nervous.
However, he was heartened by the votes and promised to "do my best" to deliver four-laning of 15th Ave, a supermarket to Welcome Bay and a potential aquarium to Tauranga.
When asked how, particularly in relation to the supermarket, Grainger said: "I want to make it easy for those that are keen. There are two entities who are."
"I can't do everything for them but I can walk alongside them and do what I can to make it happen.
"People say, 'Bill, you should be retiring now' but I say 'absolutely not'. I want to see things done. I just want to make sure this next term we all work together as a team and don't do anything we did in the last term."
Larsen said she was pleased with how far she and Salisbury got as first-timers.
"I went there with the greatest of hopes but no massive expectations."
Molloy said earlier this week he was done with politics and had "a few irons in the fire" for what to do next.
Tauranga City Council final results
Mount Maunganui – Papamoa Ward
Otumoetai – Pyes Pa Ward
Te Papa – Welcome Bay Ward
At large (city-wide)