Marlborough Midweek - - OUT & ABOUT -

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 — more votes than in the 2014 elec­tion, for a to­tal of 20,954 votes – up 2216 votes from pre­lim­i­nary results. Smith 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. All up, 39,781 vot­ers had their say in the Kaiko¯ura elec­torate, up 8.13 per cent from 36,791 in 2014.

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