Four newcomers have been voted on to Rotorua Lakes Council according to preliminary results. Zizi Sparks finds out what they hope to achieve during their time in council and how they feel about the win.
Rotorua Lakes Council will welcome four new faces to the council chambers this term after two councillors stood down and another two were voted out.
Charles Sturt and Karen Hunt retired at the end of the term leaving space for two new councillors.
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But Rob Kent and Mark Gould were not re-elected leaving space for newcomers Sandra Kai Fong, Mercia Yates, Fisher Wang and Reynold Macpherson.
According to preliminary results, Kai Fong was the third-highest poller with 8768 votes.
She said she had run a "low key" campaign but believed she had been successful because of her other experience, including as a trustee with Rotorua Trust and as a lawyer.
"I've been a trustee with Rotorua Trust for nine years and decided to stand down and not seek re-election but I wanted to still keep doing something for the community."
Kai Fong said her term would be a learning experience.
"I'm going to learn as much as I can about the role. Hopefully, some other skills I've got will complement that.
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"What I want to achieve is to make a better Rotorua for everyone living here."
Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers Association candidate Reynold Macpherson was elected to council with 6516 votes but missed out on mayor.
He said he'd received a flood of emails and messages since the result.
"A lot of people are saying thank you for the campaign against rates rises, poor infrastructure, debt and waste. Talking with Peter [Bentley] and Raj [Kumar] we're going to sustain that."
Macpherson said the councillors affiliated with the association would "actively contest some of the vanity, legacy and payback projects we think are going to be wasteful and beyond our means".
He said some of those included the Lakefront, museum and Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre.
The latter two he called "Rolls Royce redevelopments".
Mercia Yates polled fourth with 7966 votes in the preliminary results. She said she was "humbled and at the same time filled with joy".
"It's pretty momentous and I'm just overwhelmed with the amount of support through votes."
Yates said the result felt surreal and in the coming months, she would settle in and learn the basic practices.
"I'm glad we have a number of incumbents. I look forward to being mentored.
"I'll be looking at areas of interest to me such as education, social justice, arts and culture. These are my three passions I want to influence. They unlock a whole lot of other potential."
Fisher Wang, 19, is the youngest councillor and won 7058 votes. On Saturday he said he was speechless after a "crazy afternoon" learning of his election.
"I'm just really surprised and excited. I'm shaking right now."
Rob Kent, who had been voted out with 4076 votes, accepted the result.
"Obviously there was a move for some change around the place and the existing council appears to have borne the brunt of it. But people vote and get the people they elect."
Kent said he planned to retire and would not stand again.
"I've done my dash for public service."
Mark Gould, who polled 15th with 4913 votes said he was disappointed by the result but had been fortunate enough to have had four terms.
He had not decided what the future held or if he would restand.
As of Saturday night, voter return was 42.62 per cent, lower than the 2016 and 2013 elections.
For more on Fisher Wang go to rotoruadailypost.co.nz.