Car dealer Ross Church takes driving wheelBy Alan Tristram
In a sensational upset on the Kapiti Coast, former councillor Ross Church has been elected Mayor — and former Mayor Jenny Rowan, Deputy Mayor Roger Booth and two senior councillors have been swept from power.
Kapiti will have a completely new-look Council: Half the former Council has gone as five new councillors take over.
This is one of the most radical changes the Kapiti Coast has seen in years and many locals will be asking themselves how it could happen.
Two of the new Councillors have been thorns in the flesh of Jenny Rowan and the establishment. Jackie Elliott led the anti-water meter campaign which gained huge support but eventually failed to move the former Council.
And former councillor David Scott (2007-2010) opposed Mayor Rowan on many issues, including water meters.
Other major shocks have been the defeat of the deputy Mayor, Roger Booth, who has been a loyal lieutenant of the Mayor, and the ousting of the highly-experienced Tony Lester, also considered to be a safe pair of hands. Long-term Councillor Peter Ellis is also out.
So the contender considered number three in the mayoral race, Cr Ross Church, has now wrested control from Mayor Jenny Rowan.
Car dealer Ross, who first said he would stand, then stood back, and finally changed his mind to get back in the race, will have amazed many by taking first place.
Ms Rowan goes after two terms
Few commentators saw this coming. Widely — but not universally — popular, and generally well-regarded, Ms Rowan has served two terms as Mayor.
Her main challenger seemed to be Cr K Gurunathan (Guru), who has waged a high-profile and well-funded campaign featuring clever ads throughout the district.
But Mr Church, a popular and gregarious business man who is obviously well-regarded by locals, has taken the trophy with a moderate programme, promising to be conciliatory and listen more to the public on some of the contentious issues facing Kapiti.
Here are the results just issued by the KCDC website:
Mayor – Ross Church
Waikanae Ward – Tony Lloyd
Otaki Ward – Penny Gaylor
Paraparaumu Ward – K Gurunathan and Murray Bell
Paekakariki-Raumati Ward – Janet Holborow
Otaki – James Cootes, Colin Pearce, Rob Kofoed, Christine Papps
Waikanae – Michael Scott, Jocelyn Prvanov, Eric Gregory, James Westbury
Paraparaumu-Raumati – Fiona Vining, Kathy Spiers, Deborah Morris-Travers, Jonny Best
Paekakariki – Jack McDonald, Steve Eckett, Sam Buchanan, Philip Edwards
Candidate profile statements (PDF, 72 pages, 2Mb)