On Saturday night, Jim Crispin thought his tenure on the Tararua District Council was over.

In a tight race, fellow councillor Carole Isaacson had beaten him by just 18 votes.

But within 24 hours, progress results have put Isaacson just one vote ahead of Crispin, a five-term councillor, with more than 100 special votes to be checked, and then triple checked.

"I had already come to [terms with] the fact that I wasn't going to be in council so it was a bit of a weird feeling getting the call that there was just one vote in it," Crispin said.


"This has to be one of the hardest elections I have faced because there were 13 candidates vying for just four seats, but it's good in a way because it just shows how passionate people are about the region and how much they want to be involved."

Crispin is taking a philosophical approach to the final outcome, and yes, he did vote for himself, so a one-vote loss won't be his fault.

"It's a little sad having to face up against Carole because she has done so much for the region, but to be honest if I don't make it through that's fine and if I do I'll be happy to serve for another three years."

Crispin joked that if it did come down to a few votes he would be speaking to a few family members to see if they voted or not.

Returning officer Sandy Lowe said of the roughly 100 special votes, 42 had been validated.

Lowe said because the vote count was so close the special votes, once they had all been validated, would be triple counted.

"We are hoping to have the final result by Thursday, but with the triple count having to be done this could take until Friday."

At this stage of the vote count, Erana Peeti-Webber leads with 1882 votes, Kerry Sutherland has 1388, Sharon Wards has 1321 and Isaacson has 1157 to fill the northern ward seats on the council.


Tararua mayor Tracey Collis said it was great to see that the two youngest candidates, Peeti-Webber and Raylene Treder for the southern ward, had polled the highest.

"This will bring a new dynamic to the council table as they will have a fantastic diversity of thoughts and will be able to connect with different parts of the community.

"It's great to see a new generation getting involved in local government."

Collis said there was a very high calibre of candidates for voters to choose from.

"This shows the absolute strength of the district. We continue to have a mix of experience and fresher eyes and ears on the council."

She hoped that another outlet could be found to utilise the skills of the candidates who had missed out on a seat on the council.

"It takes a lot to put yourself forward for a local body election and it's particularly hard for rural people because of the seasonal nature of their work."

Collis said exciting times were ahead for the district.

"The growth opportunities afforded by the building of the Manawatū-Tararua Highway are about to hit the district. We are right on the cusp of a boom."

Collis said now she had a second term as mayor she would be able to bring some of the issues she had been working on to fruition.

Collis said new councillors would be heading into an exciting time as they prepare to celebrate the 30th year as Tararua District.

"What a wonderful time for the council to be part of this celebration."

With Tararua's Dorothy Lock narrowly missing out on a seat on the MidCentral Health Board, Collis said it was now more vital than ever the district had representation at the board's public health forums.

"Dorothy and I will be attending all the public health forums, not just those in Tararua.
Dorothy is passionate and committed to putting the best interests of the people of Tararua forward. It's become a higher priority now that there is no Tararua representative on the health board."