VOTER TURNOUT UP
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.