LATEST: The most important phone call in Lianne Dalziel's life was hardly a private affair.
The newly-elected Christchurch Mayor invited media into her Burwood home about 12.30pm where husband Rob Davidson, campaign manager Nicola Shirlaw and some friends were milling around in the backyard.
Dalziel said she was nervous when told the Christchurch City Council's acting chief executive Jane Parfitt would only be making one telephone call and that would be to the mayor-elect.
Dalziel sat at her dining table awaiting the call and it came at 1.10pm - just 70 minutes after polls closed.
More than half a dozen media stood around her table, listening to the call that confirmed Dalziel would lead the city for the next three years.
Every second of that three-minute conversation - both ways - could be clearly heard but Dalziel did not seem to mind.
After being told she had commanded more than 70% of the total mayoral vote, Dalziel was keen to hear who made up the council she would be chairing.
She scribbed down surnames and then talked about wanting to meet with Parfitt tomorrow and "get the ball rolling'' as soon as possible.
After conducting her first interviews as mayor-elect, the throng left her to talk to family and prepare for her first unofficial assignment as mayor-elect.
Husband Rob Davidson, in the style he will take on being the partner of the new city leader, stood quietly at the back of the media throng but was later cajoled into giving his wife a congratulatory kiss.
A former mayor, Garry Moore, popped in to congratulate Dalziel but then teased her that had not quite polled as high as he once did.
She will attend a friend's wedding late this afternoon where she will briefly speak and wish the newlyweds all the best in her first speech as the new leader of Christchurch.
Tonight, Dalziel has again invited media to her formal celebrations where she will give a brief address before getting down to the business of leading the city council.
'AMAZING' NEW COUNCIL
Dalziel said she had "an awesome mandate" with more than 70,000 votes and "an amazing'' new council to lead with nine new faces will join four returning councillors to be led by Dalziel.
She said she was excited by the "new blood'' including Raf Manji, Ali Jones, Pauline Cotter, David East, Vicki Buck, Tim Scandrett, Paul Lonsdale, Phil Clearwater and Andrew Turner.
There was also some stable experience on board too with the likes of Yani Johanson, Glenn Livingstone, Jimmy Chen, she said.
Dalziel said her comprehensive victory gave her a clear mandate to "speak for the city''. "It's great. I'm just over the moon. It's going to be a great council.''
Her campaign wanted her to be in a position to develop a high performing council operation.
"I think people think that since the earthquakes, the city council hasn't really lived up to its role in the recovery . . . we can (make a difference). This is a council that can do that.''
Dalziel secured nearly 50,000 more votes than her nearest rival, Christchurch businessman Paul Lonsdale.
Lonsdale was quick to congratulate Dalziel and said he was looking forward to working with her around the council table.
He was happy to have secured around 20 per cent of the mayoralty vote given he was a newcomer to local body politics and would be keen to discuss with Dalziel the possibility of acting as her deputy.
''I'm excited ... I'm going to go in there with her (Dalziel) and be supportive and look for a positive way forward,''
Lonsdale said. ''We won't always agree on every issue and I will challenge her when I need to.''
Speaking shortly after receiving the news of her election from acting Christchurch City Council chief executive Jane Parfitt, a relaxed Dalziel said she was absolutely delighted by her win and could not wait to get to work on Monday.
Dalziel said she was pleased with the make-up of the new council, which included several new faces.
In the Shirley-Papanui ward both the incumbent councillors, Ngaire Button and Aaron Keown, lost their seats.
They have been replaced by public relations consultant and former broadcaster Ali Jones and community board member Pauline Cotter.
Keown said he was surprised to not get re-elected but his campaign had been hindered by people actively targeting him by slashing tyres and ruining his billboards.
''The council has been elected on negativity. You will reap what you sow,'' he said. ''It's a shame for the city.''
Ngaire Button, who was deputy mayor, was also surprised not to be re-elected. ''I can't say it doesn't hurt. It is disappointing,'' she said.
Button said the negative media had made it tough for certain councillors.
Former radio personality Ali Jones polled more than 2000 ahead of her fellow new city councillor and ward colleague Pauline Cotter.
Jones said she was excited by the make-up of the new "recovery'' city council and put Button and Keown's failure to be re-elected to their alliance with outgoing chief executive Tony Marryatt.
Cotter said it had been a difficult ward to win and to have ousted the two incumbants was "something pretty unreal''.
"People wanted a change ... there is now some fresh air in the council.''
In the Riccarton-Wigram ward former three-term mayor Vicki Buck was elected to the council after a 15-year break from local body politics. She will represent the ward along with Cr Jimmy Chen, who secured a second term.
Buck, who emerged the most popular candidate across the city with nearly 11,000 votes, said she was excited to be back.
''There's a fairly clear message in that council that people didn't want more of the same; that they wanted something quite radically different that made them feel like the council was actually theirs and acting in their best interests,'' said Buck.
''It's a very different council.''
She anticipated some serious challenges ahead for the new council, particularly around finances and insurance.
''We're going to have to work well together and all get involved,'' she said.
Long-serving councillor Helen Broughton missed out on re-election.
In Hagley-Ferrymead Lonsdale won the seat left vacant by Tim Carter's departure from politics. He will sit alongside long-serving Hagley-Ferrymead councillor Yani Johanson.
In the Fendalton-Waimairi ward Cr Jamie Gough was re-elected along with newcomer Raf Manji, a former investment banker.
An "exhausted but relieved'' Jamie Gough polled the highest in the ward with 8471 votes but admitted he had been "so nervous'' before the result was known.
"It's a combination of elation, exhaustion and relief to be honest.''
Gough said it was too early to tell how the new council would work together but he had "a lot of time'' for incoming mayor Lianne Dalziel and hoped the council would work as a united group. "I'm looking forward to giving it everything I've got.''
First-time councillor Raf Manji was thrilled with his success.
As a first-timer, he knew it would be hard to get on the council but he was comfortably second, behind incumbant Jamie Gough.
Manji said feedback on his campaign was that people "wanted someone like me'' on the council - someone with a strong academic background.
He said he was grateful to the ward voters and he was looking forward to "rolling up my sleeves and getting on with the job for the next three years.''
Manji's election means there is no room around the council table for Claudia Reid, who was also standing in the seat because she had moved out of the Banks Peninsula ward she had represented for the past six years.
Reid's Banks Peninsula seat has been filled by Lyttelton businessman Andrew Turner.
In Spreydon-Heathcote, where both incumbents, Sue Wells and Barry Corbett, stood aside, long-serving community board members Phil Clearwater and Tim Scandrett were elected.
In Burwood-Pegasus Cr Glenn Livingstone easily held onto his seat. He was will be joined at the council table by
David East, who won the seat left vacant by Peter Beck's retirement from local body politics.
East polled more than 700 votes higher than incumbant councillor Glenn Livingstone.
"I'm greatly chuffed about that.''
East said his profile in pushing for a water park in the eastern suburbs helped his cause.
East had lost to Livingstone by 52 votes at the last election and then Peter Beck won a by-election in the ward 18 months ago.
VOTING BY THE NUMBERS
Lianne Dalziel 70,403
Paul Lonsdale 22,215
Victor Cattermole 1000
Hugo Kristinsson 953
Rik Tindall 850
Brad Maxwell 796
Sammy Harris 574
Kyle Chapman 493
Blair Anderson 461
Robin McCarthy 385
Peter wakeman 375
Tubby Hansen 355
Blank voting papers 1323
Andrew Turner 991
Nuk Korako 968
Paula Smith 932
Mark Belton 367
Jane Broughton 289
David East 7298
Glenn Livingstone 6675
Robyn Nuthall 4652
Linda Stewart 4213
Victor Cattermole 1132
Sam Park 1045
Marie Hazeldine-Barber 387
Jamie Gough 8471
Raf Manji 6270
Faimeh Burke 5344
Claudia Reid 4274
Mike Wall 3072
Paul Young 2922
Andrew Yoon 2883
Drucilla Kingi-Patterson 420
Yani Johanson 7107
Paul Lonsdale 4512
Tracey McLellan 3382
Wendy Gilchrist 2431
Alexandra Davids 1699
Islay McLeod 1246
Nathan Durkin 999
Rod Cameron 560
Matthew Carpenter 503
Wayne Hawker 478
Lisle Hood 334
David Breen 273
Vicki Buck 10,979
Jimmy Chen 6794
Mike Mora 4330
Peter Laloli 3862
Helen Broughton 3676
Sara Harnett 1393
Walpole Wenping Chen 1012
Ali Jones 8750
Pauline Cotter 6036
Ngaire Button 4943
Aaron Keown 4779
Brad Maxwell 2556
John Stringer 2094
Jonathan Corfe 1855
Phil Clearwater 7335
Tim Scandrett 5573
Erin Jackson 4859
Melanie Riwai-Couch 3501
Karolin Potter 3380
Noeline Allan 2115
Steve Bush 1398
Jeremy Calcroft 1386
* These results are based upon 98 per cent of returned voting papers. The results do not include special votes and voting papers returned today before voting closed.
Two former prominent politicians will continue to serve the city but not in the high ranking roles they sought.
Former Environment Canterbury (ECan) councillor Rik Tindall was the fifth highest polling candidate in the mayoralty race but polled fifth in the Spreydon-Heathcote community board contest which was enough to secure a spot on that body.
It was a similar outcome for outgoing city councillor Helen Broughton who failed to win another term as a councillor in the Riccarton-Wigram ward but was the third highest polling candidate for its local community board and will spend the next three years working on that next tier of local government.
Others elected to community boards across the city include former policeman Mike Laloli (Riccarton-Wigram), outgoing councillor Aaron Keown (Shirley-Papanui) and retiring city councillor Sally Buck (Fendalton-Waimairi).
LAST MINUTE RUSH
This morning saw a last minute rush from voters with more than 800 casting their votes at the Christchurch City Council's head office before the noon cut-off.
Electoral officer Clare Sullivan said more than 800 people had dropped their voting papers in this morning and more than 100 had done the same at the Shirley Service Centre.
Car parking outside the main Hereford St entrance was at a premium as voters drove up to the head office to ensure they could have their say.
University of Canterbury student Craig Scott was among those who left it to the last minute.
Assignments and other commitments had stopped him from casting his votes earlier, he said.
"It's good that it counts.''
All voting papers are taken to the main electoral processing centre near Christchurch Airport where they are formally counted.
Sullivan said preliminary results could be released by 2pm. They will be sent to all candidates for the mayoralty, council and community boards as well as media.
Council acting chief executive Jane Parfitt will telephone the mayor-elect just before those results are sent out.
Despite the late dash, voting numbers may be down on last election.
By late morning just 40 per cent of Christchurch voters had had their say.
The perceived lack of a competitive mayoral race and ongoing earthquake-related stress and the fear the Government still runs the city are thought to be reasons for what could be the lowest voter turnout since the 2007 elections.
A tight five-way contest in the Banks Peninsula ward has seen that ward lead the turnout figures from the start and the latest figures from the Christchurch City Council show that has continued right up until the very end of the voting period.
As of 5.45pm last night, 56 per cent of voters in that ward had voted.
By contrast, Hagley-Ferrymead voters - who have the biggest field of council candidates to pick from - have been slow out of the blocks with just a 37 per cent response so far.
Other ward figures are: Shirley-Papanui: 16,600 votes or 40 per cent; Fendalton-Waimairi: 17,994 votes (42 per cent); Burwood-Pegasus: 14,159 votes (42 per cent); Riccarton-Wigram: 16,907 votes (39 per cent); Spreydon-Heathcote: 15,996 (41 per cent).
Polls closed at noon today.
Follow our rolling updates on today's local body election results. Please comment below. We will be publishing as many tweets as possible tagged #chchelections.
- The Press