Communities have spoken with more women being elected into local body politics than ever, National’s Local Government Spokesperson and Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean says.
“If we want our local councils to better reflect the communities which they serve, having stronger representation from women is crucial.
“This election communities have spoken, they want better gender representation in local government, and the ballot box has reflected that.
“Local Government NZ reports that a quarter of mayors elected this year were women (25 percent), up from 19 percent in 2016.
"I think it’s refreshing, exciting and high time that we saw this upsurge in women being elected on to local government and I also hope that their success will inspire other women to step up at the next elections in 2022.
“There's an exciting group of successful women candidates around the country, including Central Otago’s Tamah Alley, who stood for the first time, receiving 2310 votes, making her the top-scoring Vincent ward councillor and Central Otago councillor overall.
“Hurunui District Council, in North Canterbury, has its first female mayor, (Marie Black), Hamilton’s new mayor is a women, (Paula Southgate), while Nelson not only re-elected their female mayor for a third term (Rachel Reese), but provisional results indicate that six women will sit around the council table.
“Environment Canterbury (ECan) will also see some changes this term, with provisional results showing that the new council will have a 50-50 gender balance, with seven women and seven men, and the all-male West Coast Regional Council will now have two women on board.
“I would like to congratulate all candidates on their success, but particularly the women who have accepted the challenge to represent their communities and have come out on top.
"Before my election to Parliament in 2005, I was a Waitaki District Councillor and deputy mayor, and I'm delighted to see so many more women stepping into these roles."