Local Elections 2013
There are six new faces, but that could increase to seven after a nail-biting result in Wellington City Council's Northern Ward.
After preliminary results were counted, Wellington's longest serving councillor Helene Ritchie walked away just 31 votes ahead of challenger Peter Gilberd, meaning the result could still swing once special votes are counted.
All up 1570 special votes were issued, and after election results were announced on Saturday 650 were left to be counted.
Yesterday Ms Ritchie, who has been on council for 27 years, said she was extremely nervous about the result.
"We'll just have to wait to see what the outcome is. It's not a nice space to be in . . . It's a very anxious wait."
However, Mr Gilberd was less nervous, mainly because he was "not that optimistic" the special votes would swing in his favour.
However, he was satisfied with how he'd done, and the close result may encourage him to stand again in three years - depending on the outcome of the amalgamation debate and what form the council took.
"I thought I'd be competitive and it's just panned out very close . . . It's a positive result in that sense."
Regardless of the outcome of the Northern ward, there will be six new faces around Wellington's council table.
There were always going to be at least four after some incumbents stood down, but Green Party candidates Sarah Free and David Lee managed to unseat long- serving incumbents Leonie Gill in Eastern Ward and Bryan Pepperell in the Southern Ward.
Mr Pepperell had been a councillor since 1996. He declined to comment on the result yesterday.
Ms Gill, who was a councillor for 15 years, is currently in hospital being treated for a heart condition and could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Nicola Young and Mark Peck picked up the two vacant Lambton seat, Malcolm Sparrow the Northern ward vacancy and Simon Woolf the empty slot in Onslow- Western.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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