Whanganui backs new mayor as new mayor

Local government newcomer Andrew Tripe is the new mayor of Whanganui.
Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

Local government newcomer Andrew Tripe has ousted two-term mayor Hamish McDouall and will lead a Whanganui council that has gender equality, according to progress results.

With 90% of votes counted, progress results released less than two hours after voting closed showed management consultant Tripe leading by nearly 2,000 votes with 6,901 votes. McDouall’s tally was 4,981.

The third mayoral candidate, DC Harding, trailed with 545 votes.

Tripe told Local Democracy Reporting that a good foundation has been laid by Whanganui District Council and the city is ready for the next stage of growth.

“I am honored by the support I have received. There has clearly been a mood for change. Whanganui is ready for the next stage of maturity and growth, and I am excited to move our district forward with clarity and determination. , and a really good team behind me.

“There’s quite a long list of things I need to start thinking about and taking action on before the first board meeting in a few weeks. There’s quite a bit of preparation to get to that point and wrap up my previous jobs and work. I was involved in.”

Tripe said his campaign had been a massive undertaking.

“It was hard work – 12 to 15 hours a day almost every day to get this result.

“The first thing is to take the time to enjoy and share the moment, to congratulate those who are also sitting around the table, awaiting results, and to acknowledge the respect for Hamish and DC Harding.

“I realize there will be some disappointed people. Anyone who has applied to serve our district is to be commended.”

Hamish McDouall, Mayor of Whanganui

Hamish McDouall.
Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

McDouall said he called Tripe at 1 p.m. to acknowledge the result.

The 1990 Brain champion was elected to Whanganui District Council in 2010, served the next term as deputy mayor, won mayoralty in 2016 and was re-elected unopposed in 2019.

He said he was surprised by Saturday’s result but did not take it as a mandate for change.

“It’s not necessarily a referendum on my performance – even my opponent said that I was a good mayor and that I had done a lot. Democracy is like that: you always know that the guillotine could be around the corner anytime.

“It’s been an asymmetrical campaign – being an incumbent has its upsides, but it also has its downsides. You campaign on the hard, pragmatic reality of things, rather than a wish list that could crumble on the rocks of reality.”

McDouall said the new mayor has good advice to work with.

“It’s not racially diverse, but the gender equality is great. With a strong board, I think the vector we’re on will continue.”

The return of voters was 42.26% (14,206 votes). The advancement result does not include some special votes or votes that are still in transit to the processing center.

The declared final result, including all special votes, should be available on Wednesday.

Local Democracy Reporting is public interest journalism funded by NZ On Air

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