Americans host election parties

WATCHING: Nick Henare, Michael O'Dea, Kaila Colbin and Kimberly Gilmour are all Obama supporters.
WATCHING: Nick Henare, Michael O'Dea, Kaila Colbin and Kimberly Gilmour are all Obama supporters.

Barack Obama supporters are celebrating across Christchurch after the US president won a second term.

Obama saw off Republican challenger Mitt Romney in today's election.

About 30 Americans gathered to watch the result at the Copthorne Hotel as part of a meeting of the American Club of Christchurch.

American Janet Ferguson is in Christchurch for a holiday and had asked the club if she could watch the result with them.

She lived in Florida and had voted for Obama.

"I can just breathe a huge sigh of relief now. If Romney had won I would have left the country, I couldn't bear it."

Ferguson said she had been "embarrassed" to travel overseas when George W Bush had been president.

"I didn't want to have to hide in shame again."

She and her husband John would have a few drinks tonight to celebrate.

"We need to find a pub near our hotel."

Ferguson had made American flag earrings and was handing them out at the event.

However Republican Don Howard was not joining in the festivities.

Howard, of Dunsandel, voted for Romney and said he was "very disappointed" with the result.

"I thought he had it so I'm pretty depressed now, But I guess that's just how democracy works."

He said he would join in the festivities with the others but would privately be commiserating.

"It's too late to ring my family back home to hear them moan. I'll have some drinks. There's no hard feelings."

American Club of Christchurch treasurer Scott Loeffler said he was "very pleased" with the outcome.

"It's great. It wasn't nearly as close as they'd said it would be but it could have gone the other way. I'm pleased it didn't."

He had lived in Christchurch for 12 years but was still registered to vote and had done so for Obama.

"Romney is a bit extreme. He wouldn't have been good for the country."

Loeffler said it was nice to watch the results come in with a group of Americans.

"We got a bit excited but now we can relax and enjoy the evening."

American Brad Prezant, who now lives in Christhurch, was also celebrating after voting for Obama.

"This was an important election and I'm glad Obama has won. I am quite happy."

Prezant said he was surprised at the amount of interest in the elections in New Zealand.

"Everyone here gets really into it. I guess the decision does influence the whole world."

Kaila Colbin, 39, from Colorado, today hosted an election party at her St Martins house.

"We've got a bunch of Americans and some interested Kiwis coming over from 3.30pm to see the results roll in."

She is still an American citizen and voted for Obama in this election.

"I vote in a swing state, Colorado, so it is quite interesting."

She had been "pretty nervous" watching the first of the results arrive, she said.

Colbin, who has lived in New Zealand for eight years, said she found Kiwis were very interested in her country's politics.

"When I first arrived in the country I was surprised at the level of hatred for George Bush,'' she said.

''I had to deal with a lot of questions about how my country could have voted him in. When Obama got in, it changed and everyone breathed a huge sigh of relief."

The Press