Former Hikurangi police officer Gavin Benney has been elected as a Whangarei District Councillor in the Denby Ward byelection.

Votes in the byelection closed at noon today and preliminary results indicate that Mr Benney has been elected with 841 votes, well ahead of Matt Keene, who was second with 635 votes.

There were 13 candidates for the ward, down from an initial 17 after nominations closed on October 10.

Geoff Abbott received 267 votes; Kathryn Darroch, 166; Robert Diamond, 249; Mike Henwood, 56; Joby Hopa, 309; Chris Leitch, 552; Huhana Lyndon, 323; Kevin Newton, 12; Hayward Norman, 126; Des Wallace 489; and Merv Williams 489.

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Gavin Benney talking to Maria Clark, Lindsay Caley and Crichton Christie. Photo/File
Gavin Benney talking to Maria Clark, Lindsay Caley and Crichton Christie. Photo/File

Initial candidates Greg Shipton, Vanessa Wilson and Yvette Poingdestre pulled out of the race, but their withdrawals came to late to have their names removed from the ballot papers.

They got 38, 171 and 11 votes respectively.

The byelection expected to cost about $35,000 was called for the Denby Ward when councillor Jayne Golightly resigned in September after being informed she was not a New Zealand citizen.

Altogether 32.04 per cent or 4,529 of the 14,135 eligible electors had voted by the close of voting today. Thirteen informal votes and 8 blank votes were received.