Sensational Kapiti Result

Ross Church 3Mayor Rowan, Deputy Mayor and senior councillors ousted;

Car dealer Ross Church takes driving wheel

By 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


Gavin Welsh

Mike Cardiff

Diane Ammundsen

Jackie Elliott

David Scott


Waikanae Ward – Tony Lloyd

Otaki Ward – Penny Gaylor

Paraparaumu Ward – K Gurunathan and Murray Bell

Paekakariki-Raumati Ward – Janet Holborow

Community Boards

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 

Daily stats for returned votes

Candidate profile statements (PDF, 72 pages, 2Mb)


Ross will have to work a lot harder to compare to Jenny’s stalwart performance. For a start he’ll have to go to all the meetings and read all the officers’ reports. Of course that’s between entertaining us in the lobby of the council building.

The last triennium was reportedly characterised by councillors being in harmony with one another. Perhaps the next will see the council in tune with its constituent community.

A very sad day for Kapiti! That small, but vicious section of our community that has spent years whinging, complaining, finding fault with every intelligent, necessary decision the council has made over the past 6 years under inspired and skilled leadership, deserves what it gets with some of those elected this time. Let’s see how you will respond now.

I don’t think we can say a democratic decision rests of the shoulders of a ‘small, but vicious’ section of the community. All voters deserve at least some respect.

Always a pleasure to see many of the people one voted for getting in (well, most of them we voted for!) … now we just hope that it won’t be business as usual with about-faces, about-turns, not listening, changes of minds, etc. We look forward to more community involvement, getting out and about talking to people … although there’s that lovely new building to occupy! My wishlist … a Road for Kapiti and a Station for Raumati. Good luck everyone, especially the great new people!

Congratulations Ross, well done. The people of Kapiti have spoken and shown us in a true democratic fashion that we wanted a change of direction. Being elected as our mayor of Kapiti should always be respected as a privilege . If you ever worry about whether you are going in the right direction remember one thing, go with what you campaigned on.