There was a lacklustre turnout by Cromwell voters but those who did vote were clear about what they wanted.
Cromwell Community Board voting closed last Friday, with confirmed results putting Wally Sanford ahead of the field with 429 votes, 103 ahead of second-runner Sian Simpson.
Final results confirmed on Monday showed a voter turnout of 29.31%.
Mr Sanford, a licensed surveyor and father of two, said the turnout was poor and it was interesting to see the vote so split among the candidates.
‘‘I’m happy to claim the win as a genuine result since I did actually run a campaign and it wasn’t always sugar-coated. I really think the community needs my voice around the table so I’m looking forward to my first meeting in March.’’
Cromwell board chairwoman Anna Harrison said seven people had stood for election and that made the low turnout particularly disappointing.
‘‘It shows although you get a sense people want us to get on with the job, when it comes down to it they’re not particularly engaged.’’
There were moves to centralise local government and the voter turnout backed that, she said.
People did not seem to realise who ensured roads, drains and rubbish were taken care of.
‘‘We need people to be engaged in the work we are doing, to know what the community want.’’
Mayor Tim Cadogan said he congratulated all the candidates for putting up their hands. He especially congratulated Mr Sanford.
‘‘I’m looking forward to seeing what he will do on the board.’’
The low turnout was a concern and a mystery, Mr Cadogan said.
Teaching civics, a subject encompassing voting, volunteering and jury service, in school was one possible solution, he said.
The board vacancy came about because at the local body election in October only four candidates stood for the community board, equalling the number of seats available. However, Sarah Browne’s election to the Central Otago District Council left her community board spot vacant, triggering the by-election.