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