In­crease in voter turnout for Kaiko¯ura

Kaikoura Star - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - JEN­NIFER EDER

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.

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