9 Dec 2011

Wait nearly over for marginal seat MPs

10:26 pm on 9 December 2011

Several Labour Party MPs will find out if they are in or out of the next Parliament when the final election count is made public on Saturday.


The Electoral Commission will publish the results of 240,000 special votes, which include the final figures for electorate and party votes, and the results of the refendum on the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting system.

In Waitakere, National's Paula Bennett was only 349 votes ahead of the Labour Party's Carmel Sepuloni on election night on 26 November.

Ms Sepuloni has heard she might now be several votes ahead of Ms Bennett. However, she says everything is speculation at this stage and she will remain on a knife's edge until she gets an official phone call.


Ms Sepuloni says if she is close behind Ms Bennett she would like a judicial recount, which would need to be lodged by Tuesday and cost $1500.

Ms Bennett - who is a Cabinet Minister - says in a statement that while she hopes to win the seat she will deal with it if it goes the other way, adding that politics can be brutal.

In Christchurch Central, National's Nicky Wagner and Labour's Brendan Burns were neck-and-neck on election night, with both getting 10,493 votes.

Both are indicating they would seek a recount if the numbers are close.


If they lose their electorate seats, Ms Bennett and Mrs Wagner would make it back into Parliament on their list placings.

For Mr Burns, it has been an anxious time and he says all he can do is wait.

"It's kind of like a two-week election night and we read the signals a bit, but we don't know what the outcome is until around lunchtime tomorrow. So I guess it's just one more sleep."

The race between the candidates was also close in 2008, when Mr Burns won with a majority of 935 votes.


Neither Ms Sepuloni nor Mr Burns would be back if they lose. If they both win, Labour list MPs Rajen Prasad and Raymond Huo will be out.

Special votes have traditionally been good to the Green Party and it is hoping it will get a ninth MP.

Mojo Mathers would be New Zealand's first deaf member of Parliament.