Councillor Trevor Maxwell has survived a massive 42 consecutive years in local body politics and deputy mayor Dave Donaldson has survived 12. Together, their knowledge of the Rotorua Lakes Council is immense. But the weekend's election results showed they were the bottom two successful councillors, only just nudging ahead of the 11th placegetter. Journalist Kelly Makiha finds out how the pair feel about their apparent slide in popularity.
Deputy mayor Dave Donaldson and Trevor Maxwell may have found themselves on the bottom of the list of successful council candidates, but the two stalwarts aren't fazed.
Out of the 10 council candidates, Donaldson and Maxwell came 9th and 10th respectively.
Donaldson got 6114 votes and Maxwell 6026 votes, both just a small margin ahead of the 11th placegetter Trish Hosking on 5854.
But both men say they have had their time coming top of the polls and sometimes their roles on the council aren't always popular.
Maxwell said in the face of calls for rates decreases, he had to be honest at candidate meetings about his support for projects such as the Lakefront redevelopment, rebuilding of the museum and Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre and forest redevelopment. He also openly acknowledged his support from Te Arawa and Ngāti Whakaue.
"You just never know, sometimes doing things like that some people might not like what you say.
"I know what it is like to be the top poller and I have been sitting around the middle and upwards in previous elections. But I knew this election was going to be quite different. Sometimes we have to be bold standing up for our 2030 Vision."
Maxwell said the diversity of the new council pleased him most.
"We have four Māori, three Pākehā, two Asian and an Indian. That's the most diverse that I can ever recall."
Meanwhile, Donaldson said the new-look council was a positive one that would "keep Rotorua moving forward in line with our vision".
"There will be some on the council who have a contrary view but healthy debate is what politics is all about."
Donaldson has gone from being the highest polling candidate in the East Ward in 2007 when he first stood to being second to last at the latest election.
"Some of us who have been around a while have slid down the ladder and we take that on the chin."
He said he had noticed a worrying trend in recent years of popular candidates also being aligned to political parties - something which he said didn't have a place in local body politics as he felt it was an unfair advantage on young independents coming through.
"I never show my political leanings and it can swing from election to election."
Despite being near the bottom of the list, Donaldson said he was never worried the special votes would knock him off.
"I've always been a special voter and my wife is a special voter. In the past, the special votes have always improved where I've stood."
He was particularly pleased he got in as he was now the only Eastside councillor after Mark Gould was voted out.
He was also thrilled Mayor Steve Chadwick had been re-elected.
"I have never seen a politician with as much energy and passion as that lady. She is an inspiration and it's a pleasure to work for and with her."