Increase in voter turnout for Kaiko¯ura
Nearly 3000 more people cast votes in the Kaiko¯ura electorate than in the last general election, official results show, in line with a national increase in voter turnout.
After thousands of special votes were counted, Kaiko¯ura MP National’s Stuart Smith has retained his substantial lead on the other candidates, gaining 97 more votes than in the 2014 election, for a total of 20,954 votes - up 2216 votes from preliminary results.
Smith, speaking from the Bathurst 1000 in Sydney on Sunday, said he was glad his figures went up, against the party trend - nationally party votes went down from 47 per cent in the last election to 44.4 per cent.
‘‘I was very pleased about how we did in this electorate. It was a good team effort but I think it was also a vote of confidence in my work, as well as the National Government,’’ Smith said.
New Zealand First candidate Jamie Arbuckle gained the highest increase in votes compared to the last election, more than doubling his predecessor Steve Campbell’s figures by 2305 votes for a total of 4201.
Labour candidate Janette Walker’s official count was 10,401 votes, which was 2114 more votes than in 2014, and an increase of 1429 votes from preliminary results.
Walker put the increase down to the higher voter turnout, spurred on by a growing mood for change.
‘‘Obviously I took some of the Green votes but there were a lot of first-time voters, and not necessarily all younger voters - I know some people in their 50s were voting for the first time too.’’
All up, 39,781 voters had their say in the Kaiko¯ura electorate, up 8.13 per cent from 36,791 in 2014. An Electoral Commission spokeswoman said it was too early to confirm the number of special votes for the electorate.
Voter turnout was 79.8 per cent nationally, which was the highest since 2005, when it was 80.9 per cent. At the last election in 2014 the turnout was 77.9 per cent.
Green Party candidate Dr Richard McCubbin gleaned 2865 votes in the final tally, up 448 from his preliminary total, and just 163 fewer than his predecessor Steffan Browning in 2014.
Just over half the electorate voted for the National Party, which gained 20,925 votes at52.6 per cent, up from 20,770 votes in 2014.
Labour Party votes stood at 29.1 per cent with 11,587, nearly double the votes from the last election when 6269 voters ticked red for their party vote..
Despite Arbuckle doubling his predecessor’s votes as New Zealand First candidate, the party vote dropped slightly, down 51 votes from 2014 to 3561.
It was the opposite of what Arbuckle had hoped for, announcing his campaign in August with the intention of doubling the party vote.
The Green Party, meanwhile, gained 1963 votes, down 1403 from the last election.
As a result of special votes, National lost two seats and both Labour and the Greens each picked up one.
The National Party had 56 seats compared with 58 on election night. Labour had 46 seats up from 45 and the Greens had eight seats compared with seven confirmed on election night.
Kaikoura MP National’s Stuart Smith, in Sydney for the Bathurst 1000, is keeping a close eye on the official results and party negotiations, he says.