Tong says this is his last term

It is the beginning of the end for Gary Tong.

He was re-elected as Southland District Mayor with 4486 votes, but says this will be his last term.

Mr Tong beat other candidates Tim Hanna and Don Byars, for the job.

"I'm very happy and proud to be able to represent Southland again.

"I appreciate those who voted and I'm looking forward to leading council through this triennium."

Southland District Council Mayor Gary Tong celebrates his re-election with his family (from left)...
Southland District Council Mayor Gary Tong celebrates his re-election with his family (from left): Jan Breayley, Michelle Tong, Mr Tong, Rachel Tong, Grant Heatherington, Sharon Ayto and Joanne Heatherington. PHOTO: LUISA GIRAO
Having held the position since 2013, he said he did not want to leave while he had unfinished projects.

"[My priorities will be] to look at the localism concept that we have, empower our communities to get up and have the things done and work with them to achieve their projects.

"I think that is time to hand over, because nine years is sufficient."

When Mr Tong returns to council meetings, he will greet some new faces around the council table.

Among them are three women who join Julie Keast, the only female representative on the previous council.

Mrs Keast said it would be good to have some female company.

The elected members for SDC are Ebel Kremer, John Douglas and Rob Scott for Mararoa-Waimea ward; Christine Menzies, Darren Frazer, Margie Ruddenklau for Oreti ward; Bruce Ford for Stewart Island/Rakiura ward; George Harpur, Karyn Owen and Don Byars for Waiau Aparima ward; Paul Duffy and Julie Keast for Waihopai Toetoes ward.

The numbers

Gary Tong - 4486

Don Byars - 1857

Tim Hanna - 1284

Margin: 2629

Vote Turnout: 47.03%


Other results

For the Fiordland Community Board, Ben Killeen, Sarah Greaney, Ryan Murray, Max Slee, Mary Chartres and Diane Holmes were elected.

Greg Tither, Carolyn Smith, Rob Scott were elected for the Northern Community Board Mid Dome subdivision, while Lance Hellewell and Sonya Taylor were elected for the West Dome subdivision, and Pam Naylor for the Parawa-Fairlight subdivision.

The Oreti Community Board will be composed of Colin Smith (Hokonui subdivision), Brian Somerville, Natasha Mangels, Geoff Jukes and Pete Schmidt (Midlands subdivision).

Steve Lawrence, Jon Spraggon, Aaron Conner, Anita Geeson, Bruce Ford and Gordon Leask were elected to the Stewart Island Community Board.

The Ardlussa Community Board members are Ray Dickson, Chris Dillon, Richard Clarkson, Clarke Horrell and Hilary Kelso.

The Oraka Aparima board members are Sharon Ayto, Neil Linscott and Graeme Stuart.

The Waihopai Toetoes board members are Denise Mary Fodie, Pani Grey-Thomas, Gay Munro, Melanie Shepherd and Pam Yorke.

The Tuatapere Te Waewae board is Blayne De Vries, Maurice Green, Ann Cherrie Horrell, Alistair McCracken, Keri Potter and Margaret Thomas.

The Wallace Takitimu board is made up of Andre John Henry Bekhuis, David Cowie, Kelly Day, Bev Evans, Peter Gutsell and Maureen Johnston.

 - By-elections will be held later this year for subdivisions of the Ardlussa, Oraka Aparima, Waihopai Toetoes and Oreti community boards, where there were too few candidates.

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