Family, friends, work colleagues and locals gathered in Lower Hutt’s Council Chambers on Wednesday 23 October for the swearing in of new councillors and a new Mayor.
Final local body election results confirmed on Thursday 17 October revealed a voter turnout of 43%. A total of 31,748 votes were cast in the election, the highest number in the last decade.
A mixed representation model introduced for the first time this year means the Council is now made up of five ward councillors, six councillors ‘at large’, plus a Mayor.
Led by Campbell Barry, at 28 the country’s youngest Mayor, the new Council is the youngest, most gender balanced, and most diverse in the city’s history.
Three Māori women, Deputy Mayor Tui Lewis, Councillor Naomi Shaw, and Councillor Keri Brown now sit at the Council table. Councillor Shazly Rasheed is believed to be New Zealand’s first Maldivian councillor.
During his inauguration speech, Mayor Barry said he wanted to lead an ambitious Council and would be looking at ways of putting more decision-making in the hands of people, particularly community boards.
He acknowledged the significant contribution to the community of his predecessor Ray Wallace, and thanked outgoing councillors Margaret Cousins, Gwen McDonald, Lisa Bridson, Michael Lulich, and Glenda Barratt for their many years of service.