Unprecedented dead heat in ChCh central

Last updated 20:58 26/11/2011
Brendon Burns

FOUR VOTES IN IT: Amazement at Brendon Burns party where the gap narrows to four votes.

Nicky Wagner
Nicky Wagner
Polling booth
Kirk Hargreaves
VOTING: Linwood College polling booth had a steady stream of voters.
Green supporters
Paul Gorman
CONCENTRATION: Aoraki Green supporters watch the results come in at the Christchurch polytechnic.
Eugenie Sage
GREEN: Eugenie Sage
Brendon Burns
LABOUR: Brendon Burns

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Election 2011

Christchurch MPs welcome Shearer City gains two new Cabinet portfolios City's newest MP doubted her chances Christchurch MPs quiet on leadership Leadership candidates to lock horns tonight Burns just ahead of Wagner in polling Greens staff shaken as party office trashed Dalziel doesn't rule out mayoralty bid Iwi keen on slice of asset-sale action MP philosophical about chances

The winner of the Christchurch Central seat may not be known for two weeks after an unprecedented dead heat between the Labour and National candidates.

Labour's Brendon Burns and National's Nicky Wagner are exactly tied on 10,493 votes.

The final winner now depends on an estimated 3000 special votes.

Despite the tie, Wagner said she felt "fantastic".

Press chief reporter Glenn Conway was at her election night party where he filed live updates during the tense evening.

11.02pm Nicky Wagner is thanking her supporters for their efforts an is confident she can pull off a win.

Wagner's supporters are eating cake and toasting Wagner.

They are celebrating the remarkable tie like a victory.

10.58pm Cheers and high-fives are being sounded as Wagner supporters hear she has tied with her Labour opponent.

Wagner said she felt "fantastic" and was high-fiving her supporters after recording an unprecedented political rarity tonight - a dead heat in tHe Christchurch Central seat.

10.54pm Wagner supporters are booing Labour leader Phil Goff as he concedes the election.

10.49pm The cheering has stopped and the mood sombre as the reality dawns Wagner is on a knife-edge after leading in the seat for most of the night.

She now trails Burns by just 12 votes with one booth left to count and saiid: "I would have loved to win on the night but I'm still confident and I'm not throwing in the towel."

10.40pm Nicky Wagner said it will be another fortnight before she knows if she has taken the Christchurch central seat off Brendon Burns.

10.27pm Burns goes into the lead for first time all night with 96% of the vote counted.

National supporters at Wagner's party are very quiet.

10.15pm Elation has been replaced with tension at Nicky Wagner's election night party as the fight for Christchurch central goes down to the wire.

At one stage Wagner was more than 700 votes ahead of Brendon Burns but the gap has narrowed to just a handful with few booths to count.

Wagner said she remained confident. "We are just waiting for the end."

9.35pm Christchurch deputy mayor Ngaire Button is at the election night party for Christchurch Central MP Nicky Wagner.

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However, the city councillor denies this shows her true political colours.

Button said she was at the National gathering because she was invited.

9.21pm In a disturbing move, Wagner supporters are seen walking around with cardboard cutouts of her face.

9.14pm Nicky Wagner has "a good feeling" about her chances of snaring the coveted Christchurch Central seat from Labour.

Loud cheers go up from about 50 supporters as polling results show Wagner more than 600 votes ahead of Labour's Brendon Burns.

Most are confident Wagner will take the seat from Burns, who had a majority of 935 in 2008.

8.18pm Wagner is literally cheering at the television every time an update on the Chch central electorate comes on.

8pm Christchurch Central MP Nicky Wagner has arrived to loud cheers from a small gathering of supporters at the Christchurch Bowling Club.

"I want to win I want to win," she announced.

Megan Woods positive

As she steams ahead in the hotly-contested race for the Wigram electorate, Megan Woods thinks she may have overworked her wrist from keeping a close eye on the results.

''I think I may have got RSI [repetitive strain injury],'' she laughed as she refreshed her computer screen as further votes were tallied about 9.50pm.

Labour candidate Woods was handpicked by Wigram stalwart Jim Anderton to be his successor, and she said she was grateful for his guidance.

''Jim was just round here,'' she said.

''I have a great team, they just understand the way votes come in in Wigram. The trend is going in the right direction.

''The candidate vote for Labour is ahead of the party vote.

''I am very positive about the results at the stage.''

Woods said if she won the election she would celebrate with a few drinks with the rest of the Labour party.

Every shade of green

Senior Press reporter Paul Gorman is blogging from the Aoraki Green Party gathering at the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology.

The institution's Visions restaurant is decorated in every shade of green imaginable.

Light and dark green balloons are greeting the more than 200 who are expected at the party.

The close to 100 already at the venue are more interested in catching up with each other than dwelling too much on the early results, although there is confidence the party vote percentage will climb beyond 10 per cent later in the night as more votes are counted.

Port Hills candidate Joseph Burston and Selwyn hopeful Eugenie Sage are already here, with Ilam candidate Kennedy Graham expected soon.

By 9.30pm Green Party eyes are starting to watch the party vote percentages closely as voting returns rise to close to 50 per cent.

Port Hills candidate Joseph Burston has around 20 percent of the vote but would need a national percentage of more than that to get in as number 25 on the Greens list.

Partygoers are starting to focus on getting to 11 per cent, which would give the Greens 15 seats in Parliament.

Warm weather may boost turn-out

Warm weather in Christchurch may help boost voter turnout in today's General Election.

Pundits had forecast a decline in voters in the quake-hit city.

Christchurch Central MP Brendon Burns, who won his seat in 2008 by 935 votes, said he did not think his electorate had the same appetite for the election "because of what we've been through over the last 14 months".

Enrolment figures showed both apathy and earthquakes had dragged down voter enrolments in Christchurch Central and Christchurch East, but numbers were up outside the city limits.

However, speaking this evening Mayor Bob Parker said he thought the summer-like weather could help boost voter turnout. "The lovely weather will certainly help."

Parker said he had visited Cathedral Square this morning before casting his vote at a polling booth at Christchurch Hospital where he had been visiting his mother.

"I went down to the hospital and voted with my mum and am just settling down now to watch the results roll in."

Results from the votes cast before today are due to be announced by 8.30pm. By Wednesday more than 25,000 people had voted in the seven greater Christchurch electorates.

- The Press

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