A special by-election is to take place in the Whangarei District Council after the councillor for Denby Ward, Jayne Golightly was forced to resign when it was confirmed that she was not a New Zealand citizen. Election Services have confirmed it's the first case of its kind they've had to deal with.
Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai said, "It is very rare for the circumstances of this particular by-election. Interesting because of course with Willow-Jean (Prime) being elected to Government, there's going be a by-election in the Far North as well but our by-election is for a slightly different reason."
Denby ward councillor Jayne Golightly resigned last month after it was confirmed that despite being a registered voter she did not have New Zealand citizenship.
Mai says, "Check those two criteria for a start because you are making a statutory declaration saying what your saying is the truth if you are going to be standing in the Denby Ward. And I encourage people to do that because its a really important part of local government and having representation around the district. So we're hoping it'll be a good contest."
Dale Ossoske of Election Services told Te Kāea it is the first time he's dealt with such a situation in over 30 years that he has facilitated elections. He confirmed that he is yet to receive any applications from candidates for the by-election, but Te Kāea caught up with a local who is throwing her hat in the ring.
Huhana Lyndon, who was schooled and raised in the Denby Ward and resides there, says it needs spokespeople who actually live in the ward and understand the issues, "Wards like Denby don't receive much community funding from the council like others do. It lacks amenities like children's playgrounds and public toilets and some of its public facilities are rundown. That's why I think this ward needs a real voice on council."
The suburbs of Otangarei, Tikipunga, Kamo and Whau Valley all make up the Denby ward with the Mayor in anticipation of a new member on council.
Sheryl Mai says, " It'll be really interesting if we get some people who've got some sharp differences in their thoughts about what we're doing and where we're going so that'll be a bit of fun. Time will tell."
Applications from those wishing contest the seat close at midday this Wednesday.