Local body elections: Andrew King tipped to win close contest in Hamilton

Andrew King's campaigning in Hamilton has paid off by a narrow margin. Photo / Facebook
Andrew King's campaigning in Hamilton has paid off by a narrow margin. Photo / Facebook

Andrew King, is tipped to be Hamilton's new mayor by just 14 votes.

Preliminary results show King, who was considered an underdog in the running for the city's top job received 8676 votes, compared to Paula Southgate who got 8662.

The third in running for the mayor race, Chris Simpson received 6331 votes.

This morning Southgate was not yet prepared to concede to King on the basis of the preliminary results.

"It's incredibly tight and all credit to Andrew King for running a good race," she said. "He's run a strong campaign, so congratulations to him and we will wait and see what the final results are."

Despite the narrow margin indicating he was in front for the race to the mayoralty, even King wasn't ready to say the job was his.

"It's definitely not a done deal," he said. "I'd imagine this is going to go on for several days."

But despite the "cliffhanger" of a race, King said he wasn't too worried.

"I'm just quietly waiting, not uptight or stressed at all," he said. "I just find it very exciting.
King said it was never certain he'd be the one the people would choose to lead the city through the next term.

"At the end of the day it's the people who have voted and it's the people who have chosen," he said. "I knew it was always a four way race - it could have gone any of four ways - but it's obviously down to two."

King said he'd heard from Rob Pascoe and Chris Simpson the other two main contenders in the race.

"They were just acknowledging they were out of the race," he said. "Very gracious phone calls."

Until the final votes were counted King said he'd be just "going with my life as normal".

The final results will include all valid special votes and will be released on Thursday 13 October.

In other results trickling in from the regions Kaipara District has elected its first mayor in what's been touted as the return of local democracy after the Government replaced its council with commissioners in 2012.

Meanwhile the Chatham Islands is back in old hands - with its current mayor, Alfred Wesley McAlister Preece, having been re-elected for another term.

Preece won the mayoralty with 190 votes, ahead of Phillip Ross Christiansen with 57 votes. The third candidate for the mayoralty Noel Donaldson got 13 votes.

Greg Gent has become the first mayor of Kaipara District since the council came under Government control four years ago in the wake of the disastrous Mangawhai sewage scheme saga.

Gent, a local farmer who was informed of the result this only morning, said it was good to see elected representatives back in charge of the council, "but equally, the commissioners have done a good job and were needed".

"But yes, after four years, they've got the thing back into a stable state and it's time to hand it back."

The local farmer beat out contenders Bruce Rogan, who had led Mangawhai ratepayers in the fight over their sewerage scheme, and Christian Simon and Jay Ben Tane.

Preliminary results showed Gent with 4799 votes, well ahead of Rogan on 1256, Tane on 470 and Simon on 264.

Joining Gent on the new Kaipara District Council are Andrew Wade, Karen Joyce-Paki, Libby Jones, Peter Wethey, Jonathan Larsen, Anna Curnow and Victoria Del la Varis-Woodcock.

- NZ Herald

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