By Gerald Ford
Adrienne Staples is out to make sure Wairarapa’s voice is heard loud and clear.
The outgoing South Wairarapa mayor is now the Wairarapa representative on Greater Wellington Regional Council.
Mrs Staples won with a total of 7490 votes to David Holmes’ 5345.
Andrew Wright took 2140 votes, Linton McGill 1116, and Monique Leerschool 605, in the election which was by STV or Single Transferable Vote.
Mrs Staples said she “doesn’t have an agenda” for the role, but wants to speak up for Wairarapa on every decision.
“I really do believe in making sure the Wairarapa voice is heard around the regional council table,” Mrs Staples said.
She said there had been “a bit of disquiet around here” about how Wairarapa was valued regionally.
Mrs Staples said she understands “how the district councils [in the region] tick”.
“I can take that knowledge and hopefully we can all work together and take Wairarapa forward as part of the Wellington region. I’m going to make sure the Wairarapa voice is considered in every single regional decision that’s made.
Asked how she would handle not being at the top of the councillors’ table in her new role, Mrs Staples said she was “really relaxed” about this aspect.
“I’ve been on the national [mayoral] council for nine years, so I’m no stranger to that,” she said.
“I am looking forward to not having the pressure of being the man at the top, but I will be someone who has something to say.”
Second place-getter David Holmes said he had congratulated Mrs Staples on her win.
“The reality is that I always knew when Adrienne was a candidate she would be a formidable opponent,” he said.
“She has been mayor for four terms so she’s proved that she can lead.”
Mr Holmes was a Masterton district councillor for 12 years and earlier said that former Greater Wellington representative, the late Gary McPhee, had asked him to stand as he had decided not to re-stand himself.
Mr Holmes said he was still “passionate about soil conservation and rivers” and still intended to support those causes.
“The next few years the water issue is going to be absolutely vital. I am so pro the dam,” he said.
“For the size of Wairarapa we do need two members on the council in Wellington.”
Despite now being out of a local government job, Mr Holmes said he did not regret his decision not to re-stand for his district council role.
“I think it was time for a change around the council table in Masterton.”