June 25 2017, updated 7:15am

New Wellington mayor

Celia Wade-Brown wins a cliff-hanger election

Last updated 16:26 13/10/2010
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KIRSTY JOHNSTON/Stuff
GREEN TINGE: New mayor Celia Wade-Brown biked into work today.

Wellington gets a new mayor

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New Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown was swamped by supporters after biking to work at the council chambers.

The cliff-hanger win, by just 176 votes, was announced by the Wellington City Council this afternoon, after special votes were counted.

After biking into work from her Island Bay home, the green mayor was swamped by supporters at the Wellington City Council chambers.

"It is an amazing and deeply democratic outcome," she said.

"Although Wellington has spoke for a change, it's a very close call, so it's doubly important to involve people and to consult."

She thanked her supporters, her family and her rivals for the top job.

Earlier Ms Wade-Borwn said one of the first calls she received was from Kerry Prendergast, who called to offer her congratulations.

She said she was 'ready to learn a lot and work with the people of Wellington'.

The first thing she planned to do as mayor was to make sure that everyone on the new council had a role to play "going forward."

Outgoing Mayor Kerry Prendergast has said she will not talk to media today.

In a statement she said: ''It goes without saying that I am tremendously disappointed at the outcome of the election. But I congratulate Celia and sincerely wish her all the very best for the huge job she now faces.

After working 12-hour days for nine years, it will be a huge change for me and it will take me some time to get used to it.

I would like to pay tribute to the councillors and staff I have worked with since joining Wellington City Council in 1989, and particularly since I became Mayor in 2001.

There have been disagreements and differing views, but together we have made many bold and innovative decisions that have helped transform this city from the grey bureaucratic town it was into the diverse and exciting place we know today."

"I would like to thank my family, who have had to share me with the city of Wellington for a long time. If there is any consolation to be had, it is in the fact that I can now spend more time being a wife, mother and grandmother."

Ms Wade-Brown will be sworn in as Mayor on Wednesday 27 October.

She beat the incumbent Kerry Prendergast by a total of 176 votes in the end, 24,881 to 24,705 votes - believed to be the closest mayoral race the Capital has seen.

A total of 632 special votes were finally included.

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Special votes were needed to separate the two leading candidates for the mayoralty, former midwife Kerry

Prendergast, and Ms Wade-Brown, a keen environmentalist and Green Party member.

Just 40 votes separated the pair after the weekend's local body elections.

Some 963 special votes were originally issued.

Of these, 774 were returned to the electoral office by the deadline of 12 noon last Saturday.  A total of 90 special votes had to be discarded because they could not be verified by the Registrar of Electors. Another 52 votes were disallowed because the declarations were not in order.

The Registrar is responsible for compiling and maintaining the electoral roll, only they can determine if a person is eligible to cast a vote.

The Council's Electoral Officer, Ross Bly, says special votes take more time to count as they have to be meticulously processed first.

"We had to verify that all special voters were eligible to vote in Wellington and make sure no one had voted twice. Making sure everyone's enrolled, checking and double checking to make triply sure - this takes a lot of time when you've got almost a thousand special votes to go through," says Ross.

The results for City Councillors were announced on Saturday.

City Councillors elected were: Ngaire Best, Justin Lester and Helene Ritchie (Northern Ward), Jo Coughlan, Andy Foster and John Morrison (Onslow-Western Ward), Stephanie Cook, Ian McKinnon and Iona Pannett (Lambton Ward), Ray Ahipene-Mercer, Leonie Gill and Simon Marsh (Eastern Ward), Paul Eagle and Bryan Pepperell (Southern Ward).

CELIA WADE-BROWN, 54

City councillor 1994-98, then 2001-10.

Born in Paddington, west London, and grew up in a council flat.

Came to Wellington in 1983, lives in Island Bay.

Married with two boys, aged 17 and 19.

Green Party member.

Campaigned to:

Develop light rail, with central government support.

Develop a new cycle and walking lane around Wellington Harbour, from Eastbourne to the south coast.

Clean up inner-city lanes, and get small businesses into them, to encourage more walking and cycling.

Focus on clean technology, including broadband and renewable energy.

Cut red tape for small and medium-sized businesses.

More local community support for libraries and initiatives such community gardens and curtain banks.

A more inclusive leadership style.

- with Stuff

- The Dominion Post

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