Sounds Air de­liv­ers for Kaiko¯ura

Kaikoura Star - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - JEN­NIFER EDER

The Elec­toral Com­mis­sion was forced to think out­side the box to trans­port bal­lot boxes from the Kaiko¯ura town­ship to Blen­heim for count­ing.

State High­way 1 be­tween Blen­heim and Kaiko¯ura has been closed since the Novem­ber earthquake, and the stretch of high­way be­tween Kaiko¯ura and Christchurch was closed on Fri­day be­cause of slips. to get bal­lot boxes from Kaik­oura south by road to link up with one of our vans,’’ Ca­ley said.

‘‘We then di­verted the orig­i­nal flight to Christchurch and sent the van to Christchurch air­port.’’

The pi­lot waited on the tar­mac for the van to ar­rive, and then flew the bal­lot boxes up to Blen- heim on Fri­day evening, Ca­ley said.

‘‘We fi­nally got ev­ery­thing in by 9.30pm, in time for the count of ad­vance votes on Satur­day.’’

The Elec­toral Com­mis­sion had to do a lot of con­tin­gency plan­ning to make sure peo­ple had ac­cess to vot­ing ser­vices in Kaiko¯ura and vot­ing ma­te­ri­als could be moved in and out, given the clo­sure of State High­way 1, Ca­ley said.

A com­mis­sion spokes­woman said votes cast in Kaiko¯ura on elec­tion day were counted that evening so they could be in­cluded in the pre­lim­i­nary to­tals.

Sounds Air fi­nally made it into Kaiko¯ura on Sun­day morn­ing to pick up the last of the bal­lot boxes, and flew them into Marl­bor­ough Air­port so they could be of­fi­cially counted in Blen­heim.

Sounds Air went ‘‘above and be­yond’’, help­ing to get the bal­lots through through on time, Ca­ley said.

PHOTO: RICKY WIL­SON/STUFF

The plane was un­able to land in Kaiko¯ura on Fri­day, but suc­cess­fully landed there on Sun­day morn­ing.

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