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October 9, 2006 | by  | in News |
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People Speak, Kelly Gone Hayward Elected; Other People Elected Too

Incumbent VUWSA President Nick Kelly was foiled in his bid for re-election last week, with VUWSA outsider Geoff Hayward winning the race for the presidency by a considerable margin. Hayward received 472 of the 1042 votes cast in the presidential race, with Kelly receiving 313. The other presidential candidates, Gareth Robinson and Ta’ase Fa’afetai gained 135 and 122 respectively.

Kelly, who was visibly upset by the announcement, says that although he was disappointed “I think I did my best, I put in the work and there are things I can say I achieved in four years.”

“After the second whiskey it was all OK,” he adds.

Kelly is critical of Hayward’s lack of experience within VUWSA, which he says will mean that Hayward is “going to be depending on others.”

The last time a candidate who was not previously a VUWSA exec member was elected to the presidency is believed to be the controversial election of Faculty of Arts representative Dave Guerin in 1992. However Hayward says if experience was “such a concern it should have been put in the job description.”

Initially “shocked” by his election, Hayward says he is now feeling “fear and excitement”. He says he plans to start meeting with VUWSA staff, former presidents and the National Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) copresidents as soon as possible.

Re-elected Education Vice-President Joel Cosgrove says he feels Kelly was “tarred with past problems”, but will leave a “strong legacy” for Hayward to follow. Cosgrove was also feeling “pretty elected” after beating no confidence by 210 votes, the lowest margin by which any of the candidates had over no confidence, and promises to continue the work he began in 2005.

He will be joined in the Welfare Vice- President position by Heleyni Pratley, who narrowly won the role over another previously unknown candidate, Anna Duggan. Current Womens’ Rights Office Caroline Prendergast, who was also a candidate for the role, received almost 200 less votes than Pratley.

Prendergast was philosophical about not being elected to the position, saying she was “not really seeing it as a failure”, and was looking forward to having a “normal life”, which included “going to class and sleeping”.

Rachel Wright and Tushara Kodikara both returned large margins against no confidence in their quests to become Queer Officer and Environmental Officer respectively. Neither were there any surprises in the result in the International and Women’s Rights Officers races with Genevieve Fontanier and Amy Mitchell
– the only candidates to run a visible campaign in their respective fields
– being elected with significant majorities.

With current exec member Alexander Nielsen withdrawing from the general executive competition after successfully being elected treasurer, the five other candidates were elected without competition.

The new executive is balanced between old hands and new faces, with Clubs Officer Melissa Barnard returning with a comfortable majority, and Bernard Galaxy and Christopher Renwick, both with varying degrees of experience, also elected. Tai Nielsen and Stefan Tyler are two newbies to the executive.

Current University Council Representative Cordelia Black was reelected by nine votes, narrowly beating James Clark in the tightly contested race. She says the Council is facing an “interesting year ahead”. Clark, while disappointed, says “there is a bitter-sweet pleasure that I managed to beat Kieran Brown.”

Publications Committee Representative Aaron Packard was also re-elected. However, his colleague Nicholas O’Kane was not so lucky, being unseated by Debating Society Vice-President Christopher Bishop.

Despite a new system of voting being implemented this year, voter turnout was only marginally higher than last year, with 1,203 of an estimated 18,500 VUWSA members clicking on the email link to vote or filling out paper ballots, approximately 6.5% voter turnout. In 2005, 996 people voted.

Returns Officer Ryan Bridge has mixed feelings on the turnout, saying “obviously, it’s a bit of an improvement on last time, but there’s a lot more we could be doing”.

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About the Author ()

Nicola Kean: feature writer, philanthropist, womanly woman. Nicola is the smallest member of the Salient team, but eats really large pieces of lasagne. Favourites include 80s music, the scent of fresh pine needles and long walks on the beach.

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