Candidates in limbo ahead of Saturday result

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The more than 100 people vying for positions in the local body elections have been in a postal-system induced limbo this week as they await the outcome of Saturday's election.

Different voting systems means results will be released at different times following the closure of voting on Saturday, as stragglers race to get their votes in the council ballot boxes by midday.

The vast majority of votes had been posted, but those cast after Wednesday have to be hand delivered by tomorrow at noon.

A progress result for Whangarei District Council, Far North District Council and Northland Regional Council was expected mid to late afternoon tomorrow. This result would reflect 95 to 98 per cent of total votes. A preliminary result would follow late tomorrow night or first thing Sunday.

As Kaipara District Council and the Northland District Health Board used the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system, these bodies would not have a progress result, but would have a preliminary result available Saturday night or Sunday morning.

Official results would follow on Thursday.

Whangarei's mayoral candidates, for the most part, said they would be celebrating or commiserating the outcome with friends and family on Saturday night.

Stu Bell was recovering from an electioneering-induced flu when the Advocate spoke to him yesterday.

"I'll probably have a few friends get together and have a quiet night," Mr Bell said. "You don't want to be going out for a big night and ending up on the front page in a gutter somewhere."

Matt Keene said he and running mate Ash Holwell would gather with close family and friends for a "debrief".

"I've [realised] how many people there are who are passionate about what they do in their ward, it's been humbling," Mr Keene said.

Mr Holwell described the campaign as having "some harrowing moments".

"But it's been incredibly uplifting . . . It's shown that anyone who is a figure in the community is riding a wave of giving and support. Leadership is very much a shared thing."

Kay Brittenden said she had been pleased with the interest around the election in the community - "it was tiring being out speaking every night".

David Blackley said he had not yet thought about his plans for Saturday, and would save his comments on the campaign until after the results were released.

Sheryl Mai said the campaign this time had been challenging given she had been juggling mayoral duties but there had been a "wonderful sense of fun" about it, compared to the 2013 race.

"I've had a really neat support crew in [my husband] Mike, and people rallied together putting up billboards and delivering flyers," she said.

She was hosting a "win, lose or draw" knees-up on Saturday night.

"I hope its a celebration," she said.

- Northern Advocate

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