Palmerston North's lowest-polling successful city council candidate Billy Meehan faces days of uncertainty about whether his election night win will endure.
The preliminary results give him the equivalent of 100 voter preferences over the highest-polling unsuccessful candidate and currently defeated councillor Jan Barnett.
The 300 special votes yet to be included in the calculations have potential to change that outcome.
Electoral officer John Annabell said there had been about 350 late votes included between the announcement of progress results at 7pm on election day, and the preliminary results released six hours later.
Those extra votes had produced two changes in the rankings.
In the second count, newcomers Grant Smith and Aleisha Rutherford changed places, with Mrs Rutherford slipping to 11th place.
And further down the rankings, among the candidates excluded, outgoing councillor Bruce Wilson slipped from 17th to 18th position behind another new hopeful, Lorna Johnson.
Mr Wilson has not yet spoken to the Manawatu Standard about his election night defeat.
Many of his colleagues have expressed their disappointment and surprise at his loss. "I don't think the public realise how much work he does," Mr Meehan said.
He was philosophical about his own tenuous hold on the 15th council seat.
"I would never say I was 100 per cent safe. Whatever will be, will be. I can't do anything about it now."
Ms Barnett said she had accepted her fate, and it had not crossed her mind that the special votes could change the result.
"I'm just quietly processing what it means for my future, and will continue to go calmly forward with my life."
The computer software used to calculate election results ensures that candidates with enough support to be elected do not keep more votes than they need to be elected. The excess votes they receive are redistributed, in order of voter preference, to help elect other candidates.
Once those preferences are used up and there are still vacancies, the least popular candidate is excluded and their votes are used to assist other candidates in being elected.
For the progress results, the calculator ran 57 iterations before the final vacancy was filled.
Final results are expected at the end of the week, with Dr Annabell hoping to advertise the notice of election on Saturday.
Meantime, mayor-elect Jono Naylor is talking to new and returning councillors about their hopes and priorities before proposing roles and committee memberships. The deputy mayor will be appointed at the inaugural council meeting on October 30.
Although Mr Naylor will have new mayoral powers to decide who should be deputy mayor, and who should chair committees, he cannot set terms of reference for committees or appoint members without agreement.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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