Ross Vickery. PHOTO/FILE

HAYLEY GASTMEIER
hayley.gastmeier@age.co.nz

In the end, it was a landslide win for Ross Vickery, Featherston’s newest district councillor.

The lawyer and former air force navigator was elected to the South Wairarapa District Council in a by-election prompted by the resignation of Dayle Harwood in April.

There were four other contenders – Greg Kerr, Graham Hodder, Bob Petelin, Warren Preiss – with Vickery getting 526 votes in the postal ballot, more than twice the number of any other candidate.

“I’m flattered, honoured, and somewhat taken aback by the number of people who supported my campaign – and did I say humbled?”

He said he was aware that people were looking for positive change and better outcomes for Featherston as a ward.

“I’m looking forward to being able to progress Featherston interests through the council and also achieving better outcomes for the South Wairarapa district as well.”

The voter return was 41.4 per cent, with total of 1003 votes, excluding special votes.

Vickery said he was in store for a steep learning curve entering local politics.

“As [former Prime Minister] Robert Muldoon told his backbenchers, for the first two years, breathe through your nose – in other words keep your mouth shut.

“So [for me] it’s a matter of listening and learning and meeting people and establishing links, positive ones I hope – so the apprenticeship begins now.”

Vickery said he would be attending every community board meeting from now on, including the ones being held next week, although he will only be sworn in on August 8.

Vickery runs a small law practice on Fitzherbert St, next to his wife’s bookshop and café, Loco, and said his work life was flexible.

Vickery congratulated his fellow candidates for running “an honest and clean” campaign, while wishing them all the best for the future.

On behalf of the council, Mayor Viv Napier congratulated Vickery on his election victory.

“I would like to thank all the candidates for putting their names forward and showing an interest to represent the South Wairarapa.

“I am very much looking forward to Ross joining the council.

“Ross will bring a new perspective and new skills to the council table.”

Napier would be meeting Vickery over the next few days to begin his orientation, and to understand his goals and interests.

BY-ELECTION RESULTS

Ross Vickery: 526

Greg Kerr: 212

Graham Hodder: 144

Bob Petelin: 61

Warren Preiss: 60