Kircher to lead Waitaki

Gary Kircher.
Gary Kircher.
Gary Kircher has been elected mayor of the Waitaki District, beating nearest rival Jim Hopkins by about 400 votes.

Following the decision for two-term mayor Alex Familton not to see re-election this year, an ensuing seven candidate race for the vacant mayoral chains ended up a close competition between two former deputy mayors.

With about 98% of votes counted, Oamaru businessman Gary Kircher was looking comfortable as the winner, having received 3087 votes.

Jim Hopkins, who had acted as Mr Familton's deputy mayor for the past three years, received 2691 votes, but today conceded defeat, with less than 400 votes left to be counted.Eric Spittal polled 1024 votes, while David Wilson received 696 votes, Greg Smith 485, Helen Stead 404 and Fliss Butcher 144.  

Jim Hopkins (3309 votes), Hugh Perkins (3159), Melanie Tavendale (2996), Sally Hope (2932), Peter Garvan (2721) and Colin Wollstein (2648) will represent the Oamaru ward, while Kathy Dennison (583) won the right to represent the Waihemo ward.

William Kingan (906) and Sharyn Price (572) will represent the Corriedale ward.

The voter return rate was 55.43%.

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