Environment Southland chair Nicol Horrell says he was surprised by his deputy being unseated by such a large margin.
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Pemberton win surprises Environment Southland chair
Dairy farmer Jon Pemberton, right, in conversation with Minister of Agriculture Damien O'Connor about Southland’s drought during a ministerial visit in February. Pemberton believes his win reflects a desire for representatives that understand the impact of policies on communities. [File photo]

Wyndham farmer Jon Pemberton won the Southern Regional Constituency with 1004 votes over Lloyd McCallum’s 563 during the local government election.

He’s one of five new faces to join the Environment Southland council table, although the rest of the votes all went the way he thought they would, Horrell said.

“We always welcome new people. I know most of the people elected, and I think it will be a good council.”

Horrell didn’t think special votes would change the preliminary results for Environment Southland.

Pemberton believed his win showed voters were looking for people with practical, hands-on experience.

“They’re looking for people at the pointy end of policy who understand how the community will cope with policy and regulation changes.”

With two farms, Pemberton reckoned his local profile contributed to his win, but at 41 years-old, he thought his younger age could also be a factor.

“I was a wee bit surprised by the numbers myself,” he said.

Other newcomers include Paul Evans who beat Allan Baird for the Fiordland Regional Constituency and Alastair Gibson who replaces David Stevens in the Eastern-Dome Regional Constituency alongside incumbent Jeremy McPhail.

Maurice Rodway and Phil Morrison join existing councillors Eric Roy, Lyndal Ludlow, Neville Cook and Robert Guyton in the Invercargill-Rakiura Regional Constituency while Peter McDonald retains his seat in the Hokonui Regional Constituency.

Horrell ran unopposed in the Western Constituency.

The quality rating of domestic dairy products has remained above 99 percent for six consecutive years, experts said at a webinar.

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