Paula Southgate is officially the new Mayor of Hamilton, with 13,452 votes, ahead of incumbent Andrew King who received 10,315.
The final results, which include special votes, show no change to the provisionally elected councillors:
- Mark Bunting (8342)
- Kesh Naidoo-Rauf (7772)
- Maxine van Oosten (7414)
- Margaret Forsyth (7042)
- Ryan Hamilton (6848)
- Rob Pascoe (6541)
- Angela O’Leary (10,105)
- Martin Gallagher (9092)
- Geoff Taylor (7759)
- Sarah Thomson (6973)
- Dave Macpherson (6131)
- Ewan Wilson (5965)
Special votes saw the gap between Ewan Wilson (5965 votes), the sixth-placed West Ward councillor, and his nearest challenger, Louise Hutt, decrease by 73 votes. But not enough for Louise, who finished with 5885 votes, to take the final West Ward seat.
Similarly, James Casson (6380 votes) was the seventh-placed East Ward candidate but was overtaken by Meleane Burgess (6394 votes) after special votes were counted.
Meanwhile Hamilton City Council has confirmed that an election video put together to drive up voting numbers was the most popular video it has ever produced.
The quirky video featured locals challenging Nelson to beat Hamilton’s voting figures. It was part of a joint campaign by 11 councils across New Zealand to help drive up voting returns in local elections.
Communications and Engagement Manager Natalie Palmer says Hamilton’s video was viewed more than 32,000 times. On LinkedIn alone, it was watched by more than 7000 people.
The video was part of a wider campaign run by Council staff to drive election interest and encourage people to vote.
“As a city – and I don’t just mean Council – we must have done something right,” says Ms Palmer. “In Auckland and Wellington, voting numbers went down but in Hamilton they went up by more than 5%, by far the largest increase in voter turnout of any of the big cities.
“While returns were up in Christchurch and Dunedin as well, it was by a much smaller amount. We have a long way to go because there are still too many people simply not engaged with Council. But it was great to see the downward trend reversed and more Hamiltonians coming forward to vote.”
Ms Palmer says Council was “absolutely committed” to improving the way it worked with people in the city.
“We want to build stronger partnerships and we want to engage in a much more meaningful way that helps people to better understand what Council does, and how they can influence and be part of our work. It will take some time, but I think the work done prior to the election has shown that Hamiltonians are responsive, and they want to get involved.
“Our job is to help remove the barriers and make it easy for people to have their say so at the end of the day, elected members can make the best decisions possible for our city.”
The vote-off video was just one of the many ways the Council has encouraged participation in this year’s election.
The new mayor and councillors will be sworn in at an inaugural ceremony on 24 October.