Mayoral candidate 'despondent' after Hawkins win

Dr Jim O'Malley. Photo: Linda Robertson
Dr Jim O'Malley said he was "despondent" after losing the mayoral race. Photo: Linda Robertson
Dunedin Mayor-elect Aaron Hawkins' biggest competitors had very different reactions to his win, with one saying the city was in "safe hands" and another so despondent he thinks it will stop him from standing again.

Preliminary results released yesterday gave Mr Hawkins 16,492 votes to Cr Lee Vandervis' 14,097 votes, followed by Cr Andrew Whiley on 10,158, Cr Christine Garey on 7,417 and  Cr Jim O'Malley on 5,915.

Meanwhile Twitter user Nate Watson has put together a graph showing where votes transferred in Dunedin's single transferable vote (STV) election.

On election night Cr Jim O'Malley told RNZ he wishes Mr Hawkins good luck as the new mayor, but he did not hold high hopes for the next three years of council.

"I don't think I'll be able to achieve very much in the council at this point, I'm quite despondent about how this council will play itself out now.

"So that's why I'm saying that after this term I don't think I'll be looking to run again after this."

Christine Garey, who is returning as a Dunedin City councillor, but missed out on the top seat, offered her congratulations to Mr Hawkins.

"The city is in safe hands and I will do all I can to support the mayor-elect in his role, leading council and the city," Ms Garey told RNZ.

Cr Lee Vandervis was quick to point the finger at the media for his loss.

He was not surprised by the result, but was surprised by "the level of personal untruths that have been levelled throughout".

He blamed the media for "a lack of debate around really important issues", like council debt, but said he would "keep moving, always looking forward".

On social media he said: "Thank you for your unprecedented Councillor vote support and for a majority of your Mayoral first preferences.

"Congrats to Aaron for winning the hot seat with the all-important STV second preferences."

On social media Andrew Whiley congratulated Mr Hawkins for his win.

"I look forward to working with Aaron on this newly elected Council.

"I also wish to acknowledge the hard work of all the candidates in running their campaigns; the energy put in by everyone is huge and overall it has been a positive and respectful process.

"It has been a tough race these past few weeks but I look forward to working as part of a collaborative council, to continue Dunedin’s growth and prosperity.

"I will continue to work in the best interest of both the city and its residents.

"I hope that we can all work together to make a real difference, moving forward to foster a city in which people are proud and happy to live and work."










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I really hope Jim O'Malley's comments are simply the result of disappointment in the moment. I have had a lot of respect for him as a councillor in the last term, but If he really feels he is going to be an ineffectual voice around the table for the the next three years then he should stand down immediately and let someone a bit more positive have his seat.

It would be interesting to know why Jim O'Malley is so despondent. Centre of the political spectrum voters would hope that there are sufficient centrist councillors to block any attempts by the Green Party to implement a Far Left agenda in the City.

Jim O’Malley has every reason to feel despondent. He has already experienced at the last term of Council what the ODT described as a “culture of intimidation” which was also confirmed to me during the election by three other councillors, who, like Jim, were not in the inner circle.

While I have criticised the performance of OCHO, and believe Mr O’Malley must bear some of the responsibility for this, I nevertheless believe that he and Lee Vandervis are by some margin the two most capable councillors at the table.

It will be a telling - and troubling start to Mr Hawkins mayoralty if he does not offer chairmanships to both Jim O’Malley and Lee Vandervis, and it will be proof that the culture of intimidation and exclusion at Council remains.

The media? Stuff, ME, Newshub..

Said on the radio this morning by political commentators, when you have a number of people standing for mayor under a STV system it is just a LOTTERY on who wins.
This system has had its day.

I think this article points out a lot of the problems with the STV system. Hawkins is the mayor but he didn’t win the popular vote. He won through the votes transferred where he was the 5th or 6th pick. Compare that to Vandervis who garnered most of his votes as the number 1 choice. I guess the saddest thing is Dunedin has a population of 129,000 people and only 54,079 people voted. So our new mayor won office with a paltry 12% of the cities support. Pretty pathetic showing! A total misnomer to say the people have spoken! Only 41% of the people cared enough to vote. The STV system should be changed back to 1 person 1 vote for mayor!

STV is more democratic in that once a candidate is ruled out, the voter's ranked choice of other candidates does continue to mean something. With such a large pool of candidates, STV actually does work in securing better satisfaction with outcomes. If only 1/10th of Dunedin's population supported Vandervis, it would have been a real shame if he had been made mayor.

But everyone knew what the voting system was going into this, therefore if people did want Vandervis over Hawkins he would have been higher on their list, but he wasn't. Yes he may have got more 1st round votes but if you've done your research on how STV works then you know that you don't have to rank just one person as number one, that your vote transfers as your preferred candidates are eliminated. Vandervis got 40% less transferred votes than Hawkins showing that he is more of a love him or hate him kind of candidate. In the final rounds, many of the transferring votes you would have expected to go his way didn't, they were either non transferable of went to other candidates.
If we had all known going into this that it would have been a FFP situation, then the candidates and voting patterns would have looked quite different. I imagine quite a few candidates would have pulled out, in order to not split votes and it would have most likely come down to a 2 man race. In which case, STV already shows us that more voters prefer Hawkins over Vandervis.

The thing with STV, is that on the first vote, far more people didn't want Vandervis than did. People seem to really like him, or really not. Therefore, more people ranked Hawkins higher on their list than Vandervis. So you end up with a winner that most people are OK with.

I don't think it's a case of Hawkins winning, rather of Vandervis losing. I was in the "Anyone but Vandervis" club and thought Hawkins was the best bet to achieve that.

Wow! Instead of saying "It's not the outcome I wanted but I'll do my best to fight for what I believe in", we get a pathetic sulk: "I'm not going to run again [because I didn't get my way]". How old are you, 12?

If you don't think you can achieve much by being on council, maybe you should quit now.

When people behave like this when they lose, it reminds use why we didn't vote for them in the first place.

Cr Jim O'Malley, (best mate of Vandervis. You backed the wrong horse, there is only one person to blame for your loss!

Because Dr Jim O'Malley appears despondent that Hawkins got to be Mayor and rightly so. I suspect they all now know Hawkins tactics, lets hope Hawkins never told the students how to vote for both him and Cull. Scratch my back and I'll scratch yours students. Viewing Social Media there is not a lot of happy people around Dunedin with both decisions. Who checks the vote counters?

It seems Jim has had trouble working with Aaron in the past -- with Aaron calling him "junior councillor". Is there some ego clash and minimising happening here?
Now that Aaron is mayor here is hoping egos and jostling can be put aside. Allow Jim to do his work. A quality leader enables. An ego-driven leader minimises and blocks the people ("competitors") who they deem are threats. Let's hope Aaron is a quality leader who allows Jim's talents and ideas to shine. No pettiness, minimising and blocking and jostling each other please! Let's let everyone use their strengths to enhance our city. That's what we've voted for you to do! Not use your energies and talents to damage and minimise. You are both city leaders being on council - we voted for you both to guide our city with your strategic visions, talents and governance skills. Please put your energies to working on your visions rather than damaging each other! Congratulations to you both. Now get on with collaboration and executing your visions.

Well said.

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