The Mayor of Manukau, Sir Barry Curtis, declared himself "as large as life and raring to go" yesterday after being declared the winner of the mayoral race almost 600 votes ahead of rival Len Brown.

Mr Brown said he would not ask for a recount, although the matter was considered long and hard.

The final result put Sir Barry on 21,104 votes and Mr Brown on 20,538.

Mr Brown said the final count showing him still 566 votes behind Sir Barry - the same margin as last Saturday's provisional result - was not close enough and questions raised by his campaign team after vote-counting had been answered reasonably.

To go for a recount before a District Court judge would have been frivolous when he did not want to stop Manukau going forward.

He believed the final result was strange "but strange doesn't do it with a District Court judge".

It was too early to say if he would try again in three years.

Sir Barry, 65, confirmed this term would be his last.

He said he was still committed to the eastern highway, considered by many to be dead after the Auckland City Council elections. Most Aucklanders wanted the highway, he said.

Meanwhile, Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey said the days of the "Curtis-Banks roadshow of telling us how to behave and what projects to be delivered is no longer the Auckland way of the future".

Mr Harvey said he had an excellent working relationship with Auckland Mayor John Banks "but put Barry and John together and it was a pretty formidable opposition to just about everything. It was their way, never our way".

Mr Harvey, who holds his first meeting with new Auckland City Mayor Dick Hubbard today, said the regional power base would now be focused on sustainability, consultation and a new delivery.

Herald Feature: Local Vote 2004

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