Ballina Greens spokesperson Tony Gilding said the party branch would be ‘doing some navel gazing’ after none of its three candidates were elected to Ballina council.
Ironically, both of the upset candidates that were elected in wards A and C have come into council on the back of Greens preferences.
The successful candidates were: Phil Meehan, Steve McCarthy and Nathan Willis in A ward; sitting councillors Jeff Johnson, Sharon Cadwallader and Keith Williams in B ward; and Ben Smith, Eoin Johnston and Sharon Parry in C ward.
The Greens had been hoping to see Gail Mensinga elected in C ward on the back of re-elected mayor David Wright’s third preferences. But the preferences exhausted before reaching her.
Former Greens mayoral candidate Jeff Johnson said if his old party had recommended him for mayor, and he was elected instead of Cr Wright, that would have seen B ward Greens candidate Nathan Cooper automatically elected to council, given there were only four candidates standing in that ward.
‘I was very surprised to see on the Greens how-to-vote card that they recommended David Wright for mayor,’ he said.
Cr Cadwallader said she was also surprised with the Greens’ decision.
‘I gave Nathan Cooper my preferences and received nothing in return,’ she said.
‘The numbers between me and Jeff [Johnson] were closer than today’s Northern Star article suggested,’ she added.
Wise in hindsight
But Mr Gilding said, ‘we’re often wise in hindsight’.
‘I seriously wonder how many people would have read the print down the bottom of our how-to-vote card on who we recommended for mayor. I don’t think it’s that black and white.’
He added as many as 50 per cent of mayoral votes exhausted before going to a second preference.
‘Of course we’re disappointed not to be there but that’s democracy.
‘There’s a wide range of diverse winners. We wish them luck and look forward to contesting the next election,’ Mr Gilding said.
Echonetdaily understands Dr Parry was shocked to discover she was even in the running.
Her campaign emphasised environmental issues and opposition to the Alstonville Boral bitumen plant.
‘It must surely be possible to support an expansion of the shire’s population without permitting our glorious landscapes and beaches to be lost to future generations,’ she told Echonetdaily.
Retired baker and amateur basketballer Steve McCarthy staked his claim on cleaning up the Richmond River and building a full-size basketball stadium in Ballina to attract competitions to the town.