Longland tipped to be Tweed mayor

A NATIONAL Party number cruncher has tipped Community First candidate Barry Longland as a compromise choice for mayor between green and conservative Tweed Shire councillors.

Murray Lees, the Nationals' Tweed president who advised independent candidates Warren Polglase and Phil Youngblutt during the election campaign, yesterday also praised the Greens Party for its result and choice of leader in Katie Milne.

Mr Lees said the Greens performed well statewide as traditional Labor voters "appalled with the antics of their state government, parked their votes with the next best option".

"This was enhanced in the Tweed by Katie Milne's great personal appeal as an honest community volunteer," he said.

"She is seen as the antithesis of the career politician. Polglase was clearly hurt by the state Labor government's sacking of the previous democratic council despite no charges ever being laid against him, while Longland may have suffered from his group's perceived close links with the Labor Party."

Mr Lees said the mayor, who is due to be elected at the first council meeting on September 30, would "obviously be a councillor from the left, ruling out the experience of Polglase and Davidson".

"Katie Milne, and to a lesser extent Dot Holdom, have the popular mandate, but little or no experience. Kevin McCready would be a divisive nightmare.

"Longland would be a more uniting, safer pair of hands, so I would expect to see him get the job as our new mayor for the next 12 months." Mr Lees said the predictions he made a few weeks ago appear to have "turned out to be 100 per cent accurate in terms of elected councillors".

But he added: "What did surprise me was the very strong performance of the Milne-led Greens and relatively poor tallies for Warren Polglase and Barry Longland. "The 'left' will certainly control council for the next four years with two Greens, plus Longland and Holdom. With Polglase and van Lieshout elected, I expect the seventh position to be won by Davidson, Youngblutt or Skinner."



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