Cuy leads race

Monday, 10th September, 2012

Wincen Cuy Wincen Cuy

Incumbent ahead of Black in ballot for city's Mayor

By Kurtis J Eichler

Wincen Cuy appears set to win a second term as Mayor of Broken Hill.

At the close of counting yesterday Mr Cuy held 37.63 per cent of the primary mayoral vote with 4090 votes, ahead of former Labor mayor and State MP Black, who had 28.23 per cent, or 3068 votes.

Next was Labor's Darriea Turley with 24.43 per cent, or 2655 votes, followed by John Groenendijk with 9.71 per cent or 1055 votes.

Those figures include pre-poll votes but postal votes and preferences are yet to be tallied.

While Mr Cuy holds a strong lead, Electoral Commission returning officer Darren Flowers said the race for Council's top job was "too close" to call yesterday.

No one had accrued 50 per cent plus one of first preference votes, which meant the position of mayor would be decided on preferences, said Mr Flowers.

Even though Clr Turley was trailing by 1000 votes, her chances could be bolstered with preferences, and postal votes are also still to be counted.

"I think it's a lot closer than people expected," Mr Flowers said.

Mr Cuy said yesterday he would wait for an advance in the polls before making any comment.

"At this point in time it looks reasonably well for me but I'm not prepared to say anything."

More enrolled voters turned out to cast a ballot than at the 2009 election, with 82.44 per cent having their say compared with 63.2 per cent three years ago.

Just three per cent of the mayoral vote was informal compared to 18.5 per cent for the councillor voting.

Ms Turley said the election had thrown up a few surprises, not least the poor performance of Mr Black's group.

"Peter Black was a former mayor, a former state member and so of course we knew he was going to do well," she said.

"What I'm surprised at is his ticket hasn't done well and I'd say they'd be shocked by that."

Her bet is on Wincen Cuy to hold on to his position though.

"I think Wincen has won it."

Mr Black's running mate Tom Kennedy laid the blame on the local ALP for not being successful.

"The biggest shame was the Labor party didn't preference Peter for mayor," Mr Kennedy said.

"It's probably unlikely that Peter will get mayor. If the Labor party had of preferenced him he would have got over the line as mayor but now it will come down to how the Labor voters have preferenced."

Clr Kennedy said Team Black gave the city a clear option - retire debt or more of the same - in the lead up to Saturday's ballot.

And at the end of the day the people made up their own mind, he said.

"We gave Broken Hill a clear option. Our policy was to retire debt and not to get council to put any money into the bypass road.

"People decided not to take that choice and that's the great thing about democracy."

The BDT attempted to contact Mr Black yesterday but was callswere not answered or returned.

Mr Kennedy also thought it unlikely he would be returned as a councillor.

As of yesterday he had .55 per cent of the vote with 50 first preference votes.

The only hope left was is if Labor voters preferenced Team Black, Clr Kennedy said.

"If the Labor voters support Peter, he gets mayor and I'd be councillor.

"At the end of the day people make up their own mind."

Clr Kennedy tipped Labor would get four councillors on board, Dave Gallagher and one running mate would also make it as well as Mr Black and Bob Algate.

"That last position will be between John Groenendijk and another member of Dave Gallagher's team."

But Mr Groenendijk remains uncertain about his future as a councillor, despite seizing 501 first preference votes and just over five per cent of
the total share.

Mr Groenendijk was concerned because with an above the line box, his fate comes down to preferences.

"Certainly I think the below the line vote has been strong. I'm about 55 per cent away from getting my quota and if I can pick up some second and third preferences."

For his running mates Christine Adams and Josh Cowdrey, their job is a lot harder.

Ms Adams eased in with Mr Groenendijk at the last election because of his strong first-preference votes.

"I just hope I get a couple of good preference and give them a good chance to get in.

"When it comes down to preferences you can't say you're confidence."

The only three certainties were Darriea Turley, Dave Gallagher and Peter Black, he said.

Mr Groenendijk said Ray Steer and Alan Tucker wouldn't make the cut.

Mr Groenendijk polled last in the mayoral race with just 1055 first preference votes, or about nine per cent of the vote.

"I was hoping to be actually at least a bit competitive and make it a bit of a closer race," he said.

"The calibre of each candidate was a lot higher than previous elections.

"I think Wincen should win it. He's got all my second preference votes and Darriea hasn't given any preferences to Peter (Black)."

He put his fail down to his plan to get Council back on a sound financial footing - something he said may have been too much for voters to
swallow.

Mr Flowers said counting will continue this morning and take roughly three or four days to finish.