While almost all Northland local body positions are set in stone after last Saturday's local
authority elections, the final results from the polls have yet to be released.

After the provisional results from the local body were released on Saturday - from 95 per cent of votes cast - all three sitting mayors, Sheryl Mai in Whangārei, Jason Smith in Kaipara and John Carter in the Far North, were re-elected.

Final results were expected late yesterday or early today - both outside the Northern Advocate deadline - but some final results may be delayed until next week.

And although virtually all members voted in on Saturday will retain their seats, one race is still on a knife edge.

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If a day is considered a long time in politics, for two people vying for the same seat on Northland Regional Council the past five days might have felt like a lifetime.

Northland Regional Council's last term chairman Bill Shepherd is still waiting to hear if he has lost his seat, after final election results were delayed.
Northland Regional Council's last term chairman Bill Shepherd is still waiting to hear if he has lost his seat, after final election results were delayed.

After last Saturday's preliminary count, Bill Shepherd held a slim majority of only 61 votes over Joce Yeoman in the Coastal North constituency. By Monday, after special votes were counted, that had switched to Yeoman having an even slimmer lead of only 14 votes.

Shepherd is an experienced, long-time local body politician who only a month ago was the council's chairman, while Yeoman is one-term council member, first elected in 2016.

Although the provisional count was expected to be confirmed as final yesterday according to earlier assurances, it could be another day or so before Shepherd and Yeoman learn what the voters have decided for their political fate, 2019.

It's an extraordinary situation in a two-seat constituency which already turned out a surprising result; the sweeping in of first time candidate and GE Free Northland spokesman Marty Robinson who gained nearly 1000 votes more than Shepherd.

If Yeoman's tiny lead holds firm, she will have shut out the man who led the controversial NRC decision to omit precautionary rules against genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from the proposed Northland Regional Plan.

Final results will be posted on each council's websites.

The new Whangārei District Council will be sworn in at a ceremony at Level 2, Semenoff Stadium at 5.30pm on October 31.

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