Chas Poynter

Charles "Chas" Poynter, QSO, JP (8 February 1939 - 20 August 2007) was the Mayor of Wanganui from 1986 to 2004. He was prominent in opposing the Māori occupation of Moutoa Gardens in 1995.

Poynter was a bookseller - a business he inherited from his father and located in the main shopping area of Wanganui (Victoria Avenue). He was elected to the Wanganui City Council as a councillor in 1977, re-elected in 1980 and stood for the mayoralty in 1983 upon the retirement of Mayor Ron Russell. He polled as runner-up to Doug Turney and was made deputy mayor in 1983 as a consequence. In 1986, he challenged Turney and was successful, winning with a majority of 1529 votes.

In 1989 he increased his majority, defeating challenger John Blaikie by almost 6,000 votes. This was the first election under the new local government boundaries with Wanganui City incorporating Wanganui County and some of Waitotara County. Blaikie was the chairman of the Wanganui County Council prior to the reorganisation. The new territorial authority was named 'Wanganui District Council'.

In 1992, Poynter was challenged by Wanganui greengrocer Randhir Dahya, a popular Indian businessman. His majority was cut to just 939 votes (Wanganui Chronicle of 20 October 1992). Dahya challenged him twice more - in 1995 and 1998 - but Poynter easily resisted these challenges, assisted by his handling of the Moutoa Gardens occupation of 1995 and the unfortunate death of his wife, Joy, four months prior to the 1998 election.

By 2001, the writing was on the wall and he regained the mayoralty with just 27% of the vote, warding off four councillor challengers. In 2004, he stood again and was defeated - polling third behind media personality Michael Laws and businessman John Martin with just 20% of the vote.

He died in 2007 from cancer. He is survived by two daughters and a son.

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