Live blog: Results of the 2019 local elections

A festival of democracy is playing out around the country today, as voting closes in our local elections and preliminary results trickle out. Alex Braae, Hayden Donnell, and miscellaneous The Spinoff staff  bring you live updates. Keep refreshing the page for more. 


The Spinoff local election coverage is entirely funded by The Spinoff Members. For more about becoming a member and supporting The Spinoff’s journalism, click here.

1:04: Some interesting developments in Nelson: Rohan O’Neill-Stevens, all of 19 years old, has been elected. There has been a big swing in the gender balance of the Council, with six women elected along with the re-elected mayor Rachel Reese. And we can also report that Rachel Sanson, a first time candidate, got elected while using campaign imagery that was endorsed by The Spinoff’s artist in residence Toby Morris.

12.39: Well well well, what an upset. Andy Foster has tipped over incumbent Wellington mayor Justin Lester, by a narrow but decisive margin of around 500 votes. You might be wondering – who is Andy Foster? Don’t worry, we’ve got a cheat sheet for you.

A brand new day – Sunday: Good morning again, it’s Alex here. Since the last update, there have been a few big developments.

  • Porirua has a new mayor. It is Anita Baker from the Northern Ward, who takes the mayoral chains off Mike Tana after a brutal three years around the council table. Interestingly in Porirua, young climate activist Josh Trlin absolutely stormed to victory in the Northern Ward, finishing as the top ranked candidate out of the four who were elected. Elsewhere mayoral candidates Mike Duncan and Izzy Ford both held onto their Council seats.
  • The Greater Wellington Regional Council has a few new faces on it, after a term defined by the debacles around the buses. Expect to hear a lot about both Thomas Nash and Glenda Hughes – two of the newly elected candidates who have strong political backgrounds.
  • Turnout, in the end, wasn’t quite so bad as feared. The exact figures are still being crunched, but it appears that nationwide it will be somewhere between 40-45%. Now, that’s still not very good, but it’s also not really any worse than previous local elections.
  • Sophie Handford, the national co-ordinator for the School Strike for Climate movement, is now a Kāpiti District Councillor. The 18 year old was profiled by Alex Casey and is likely to be a remarkable addition to the council. In other Kāpiti news, incumbent mayor K Gurunathan held off a challenge to win another term.
  • Finally, in things you love to see, check out how ousted Wellington councillor Brian Dawson’s night went.

7.45: I have to go to my boss’s birthday party so am signing off. It looks like New Plymouth, Porirua, and Nelson won’t have their votes counted until tomorrow morning (or perhaps late tonight, Porirua?) Hayden Donnell and I will be tweeting anything exciting.

7.40: Brothers Bryan and Tim Cadogan have both been re-elected as the mayors of Clutha and Central Otago respectively, ensuring the goldfields stay in the family.

7.20: The Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton Community Board welcomes Gamal Fouda, the widely-celebrated imam of Christchurch’s Al Noor Mosque.

7.05: Greg Lang is elected mayor in Carterton following John Booth’s retirement, adding more evidence to our thesis that incumbency is ruling the day. Most new mayors are the result of people stepping down, not being unseated. I say again: seems we all hate change.

7.00: This afternoon Helen Worboys was re-elected as ​Manawatū mayor. Runner-up Shane Casey lost out by 1600 votes, which doesn’t sound like much but we’re assured it is in the Manawatū – Worboys crushed it.

6.50: The Horizons Regional Council, which is made up of representatives from Whanganui, Manawatū-Rangitīkei, Horowhenua, Palmerston North, Tararua, and Ruapehu, has elected six new councillors: Allan Benbow, John Turkington, Fiona Gordon, Weston Kirton, Sam Ferguson, and Emma Clarke. These fine folk have sought new horizons, ha ha, and will be joining the 12-person council to preside over the lush central North Island.

6.45: Incumbent mayor Grant Smith has been re-elected in Palmerston North. None of the other candidates put their names forward for council (except Andy Asquith, who was unelected in both races), so there will be no simmering resentment during meetings this term.

6.40: New live blogger: Hayden Donnell has been doing some counting and 16 of the 20 Auckland councillors are returning incumbents. Tracy Mulholland and Pippa Coom have unseated incumbents (we admit this is presumptuous as the vote count is close and unfinished). Two of the three changes were forced by retirements. People hate change.

6.30: Message from the live blogger: Right, so there are still more results to come, and there are going to be some more updates coming later on. But from me, that’s enough local democracy for one night. Taking over next will be the magnificent Josie Adams. Thanks so much to everyone who joined us today for this massive celebration of roads, rates and rubbish.

6.25: If you’re looking at the Kāpiti Coast District Council website right now, sorry but it absolutely is too late to cast a vote.

6.18: Some absolute local authority nerdiness from Hayden right here: The Owairaka Subdivision of the Albert-Eden local board might be the closest election race in the country. Only three votes separate City Vision incumbent Graeme Easte and C&R’s Monique Poirier. Quite a lot hinges on the result as well. With Poirier there, C&R has a 5-3 majority on the board, and will likely be able to stop the plan to divide Chamberlain Park golf course. If Easte gets in, it’s an even split.

6.11: 

6.03: The Otago Regional Council race was a big one for celebrity candidates. And it looks like most of them have made it in, including this fellow who topped the Dunstan Constituency.

Michael Laws

6.00: Gary Kircher has easily held off a challenge in the Waitaki District mayoralty. That race was previewed here.

5.50: 

5.17: There’s a crazy-close race going down in Westland. Here’s a release with the progress update, but for now, just check out the split on the mayoralty: It’s a first past the post system, and here’s Hayden Donnell on the system that would make a lot more sense.

5.09: Palmerston North results: Grant Smith has won a massive mandate for another mayoral term. Really, none of the other candidates came close, though second place went to Teanau Tuiono, and third went to local government academic Andy Asquith. Here’s a preview of the race from Josie Adams to give you an idea of who everyone is.

4.46: Some numbers for you around whether or not Foster will be able to hold his lead against Lester: In 2010, Kerry Prendergast beat Celia Wade Brown on election night by 40 votes; Celia Wade-Brown won after specials by 176 votes. There were c. 1000 special votes. This time Andy Foster leads Justin Lester by 700. There are 5000 special votes to be counted.

4.45: Ward results in Wellington, where it really is all happening: These are preliminary, and subject to change.

Takapū/Northern Ward: Jill Day, Malcolm Sparrow, Jenny Condie

Wharangi/Onslow-Western Ward: Diane Calvert, Simon Woolf, Rebecca Matthews

Pukehīnau/Lambton Ward: Iona Pannett, Nicola Young, Tamatha Paul

Motukairangi/Eastern Ward: Sarah Free, Teri O’Neill, Sean Rush

Paekawakawa/Southern Ward: Fleur Fitzsimons, Laurie Foon

4.30: Final Wellington results will not be known tonight. Here’s a statement from the Council about where it’s at:

The result shows Cr Foster, who has been a Wellington City Councillor since 1992, has received 24,108 votes compared to incumbent Justin Lester who has received 23,393 votes. This is a margin of 715 votes.

Wellington City Electoral Officer Warwick Lampp says approximately 90% of the votes received have been counted but a large number of last minute votes meant a preliminary result wouldn’t be available until Sunday. “Today, we collected 5,563 votes, including special votes.

“This unprecedented volume of last-minute votes means we won’t know the preliminary result until midday tomorrow, so this progress result may change.”

4.16: Update from Wellington – woah!

4.12: Expect things to get ruthlessly disciplined in Tauranga. Their new mayor is army colonel Tenby Powell. He has beaten incumbent Greg Brownless.

4.08: It’s all happening at John Tamihere’s campaign headquarters. (Pic: Hayden Donnell)

3.57: The voting patterns on the newly minted Auckland Council will have a huge bearing on what Goff is able to do. Here Hayden Donnell has given his assessment of what the rough blocs will be:

Allies: Josephine Bartley, Cathy Casey, Bill Cashmore, Efeso Collins, Pippa Coom*, Linda Cooper, Chris Darby, Alf Filipaina, Phil Goff, Shane Henderson, Richard Hills. 

Total: 11

Frenemies: Tracy Mulholland, Desley Simpson.

Total: 2 

Foes: Angela Dalton, Christine Fletcher, Daniel Newman, Greg Sayers, Sharon Stewart, Wayne Walker, John Watson, Paul Young.

Total: 8

* Pippa Coom is leading Mike Lee very narrowly. Lee, if he wins, very firmly falls into the foes camp, which would make the votes of Mulholland and Simpson absolutely crucial to both blocs.

3.45: John Tamihere has issued congratulations and a concession to re-elected mayor Phil Goff on his facebook page.

3.43: In Christchurch, under-investigation councillor Deon Swiggs has lost his bid for re-election. He put out a statement this afternoon, saying “of course, this was always going to be a very tough election given the Code of Conduct investigation being deliberately leaked to media coinciding with ballot papers arriving in people’s letterboxes.”

3.40: There could be big changes coming for the Waikato Regional Council, with potentially six new members elected. Here’s a release with the details, though some races are still too close to call.

3.33: The King is Dead, Long Live the King. And what I mean by that is that Andrew King lost his bid for re-election in Hamilton, while Tasman District has a new mayor in Tim King.

3.27: Another Hamilton update: However it looks like Louise Hutt, the subject of this profile, has narrowly missed out on being elected to Council, and come 4th in the race for mayor.

3.23: Hamilton update: Back in April, after one of the stupider controversies of the year, we asked whether Hamilton City Council were a bunch of clowns. Well, it’s looking like the clowniest among them, including anti-vaxxer Siggi Henry, have been sent packing by the voters.

3.18: Paula Southgate is the new mayor of Hamilton. Go back down memory lane and read all about one of the wildest election debates of the season, that she was part of.

3.11: Big news in the Far North: John Carter has won another term as mayor. He had a strong string of challengers but was able to see them all off. Further down the ballot former Green MP David Clendon has narrowly been elected to Council, while also former Green MP Sue Bradford was not elected. As well as that, OpShop singer Jason Kerrison failed to get elected.

3.07: Massive result in Dunedin, with reports that Aaron Hawkins has won the mayoralty. He will become the country’s first ever Green Party mayor (technically) and scored four snakes in this scientific assessment of the race.

3.05: Sheryl Mai has seen off two challengers for the Whangarei mayoralty, and has won her third term in the process.

2.54: Other fun Auckland mayoral votes: At this stage of the count, Craig Lord is in an easy third place with more than 25,000 votes. Tom Sainsbury’s campaign failed to fire, with only about 2500 votes. Very few candidates got fewer than 1000 – among those that did fall under that mark were The Communist League’s Annalucia Vermunt, and Alezix Heneti. It was also a good campaign for the mysterious candidate known only as ‘Blank’, which polled well into the thousands.

2.41: Here’s who’s in on the Auckland Council: 

Albany Ward: John Watson and Wayne Walker

Albert-Eden-Puketāpapa Ward: Christine Fletcher and Cathy Casey.

Howick Ward: Sharon Stewart and Paul Young.

Manukau Ward: Efeso Collins and Alf Filipaina

Manurewa-Papakura Ward: Angela Dalton and Daniel Newman

Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Ward: Josephine Bartley

North Shore Ward: Richard Hills and Chris Darby

Ōrākei Ward: Desley Simpson

Waitākere Ward: Linda Cooper and Shane Henderson

Waitematā and Gulf Ward: Pippa Coom (but this one is still super close and Mike Lee could make a late surge)

Whau Ward: Tracy Mulholland

2.35: Gisborne has a new mayor! It had to happen because Meng Foon was standing down, but regardless, Rehette Stoltz has won a huge landslide victory. Read all about that race from Alice Webb-Liddall here.

2.28: Taupō District Mayor David Trewavas is back for another term.

2.21: And another one for the Auckland Council – Christine Fletcher and Cathy Casey look like they’ve both been re-elected in the Albert-Eden-Roskill ward.

2.15: Re-elected mayor of Auckland Phil Goff, along with some journalists doing their best neutral news faces.

2.14: We’re getting a bit of a picture of how Auckland Council elections are shaping up. It looks like Shane Henderson has won in Waitākere, Richard Hills has won on the North Shore, and Pippa Coom holds a slender lead over Mike Lee. Could be a huge afternoon for the City Vision ticket.

2.12: Initial results in Christchurch indicate Lianne Dalziel has stormed to victory. She beat businessman Darryll Park in second, and long-time activist John Minto into a distant third place.

2.08 Jim Boult has won another term as Queenstown District mayor. Our man in the party capital of the country Don Rowe profiled him, describing Boult as a “benevolent dictator.”

2.01: Phil Goff has won another term as Auckland mayor. At this stage of the count, he has about 48% of the vote overall, with around 155,000. John Tamihere is back in 2nd place with about 70,000. The big mover in the end has been Craig Lord, who is in 3rd place with around 25,000 votes.

1.59: Lyn Patterson has won another term as Masterton mayor. In the process, she beat chainsaw-swinging Tina Nixon, who was the subject of this excellent profile by Josie Adams.

1.57: Radio NZ is reporting that Ashburton has a new mayor, with Neil Brown beating incumbent Donna Favel. 

1.53: Two big results from Hawke’s Bay: Sandra Hazlehurst has won another term as mayor of Hastings. And Kirsten Wise is the new mayor of Napier City. In the latter, Wise beat former National MP Chris Tremain.

1.49: Stuff is reporting that Tim Shadbolt has won yet another term of mayor of Invercargill! Josie Adams profiled that wild and personal race for The Spinoff last month – another three years of that sort of carry-on beckons.

1.35: Contrary to earlier reports, Auckland mayoral candidate Craig Lord may not in fact be officiating a wedding today.

1.33: 

1.17: A huge result in Horowhenua: Michael Feyen has been dumped as mayor, with Bernie Wanden winning by a strong margin. Feyen had a ridiculously turbulent three years in the job, but always had one mate on his side despite the rest of his Council hating him.

1.14: Elsewhere in Hutt City races, the Western Ward has gone to Chris Milne, who had as his strapline ‘The Man with the Plan’. However in the Harbour Ward, Gavin Murphy’s slogan “The Man for the Future” failed to fire with voters.

1.11: An actual result! Hutt City will have a new mayor, with 28 year old Campbell Barry beating incumbent Ray Wallace. We profiled that race here – it’s a big pickup for the Labour Party.

1.00: Another update from Hayden Donnell, who reports on the deepening scandal around Phil Goff’s lame election party. “Not a great park by the Goff mayoral car as he arrives for the party. A bad sign? Yes.”

Shameful.

12.54: Absolute scenes here, with the local MP lambasting his constituents’ commitment to democracy.

12.50: Update from Hayden Donnell: Phil Goff still hasn’t arrived at the Phil Goff election party. He was opening the Diwali Festival at Aotea Square this morning. As for the other contenders, John Tamihere is holding a press conference at around 1.30pm, and we have unconfirmed reports that Craig Lord is MC’ing a wedding today. 

12.32: Good news: While voting has now closed, there is still time to read absolutely everything we published over the course of the local election campaign period. Check out the Local Elections section here and start clicking please.

12.27: Hayden Donnell has arrived at Phil Goff’s campaign party, and so far it looks really boring.

Absolutely wild scenes in the early stages of Phil Goff’s campaign wrap party (Photo: Hayden Donnell)

12.25: Remember, a lot of candidates already know they’ve won, and not just because they’re running against muppets. As Hayden Donnell reported last month, nearly 1 in five elections have gone uncontested.

12.17: Dire turnout has been a constant theme of the campaign, and voting closed as of 17 minutes ago. But we’re seeing plenty of anecdotal reports that a lot of people have been getting out this morning to vote, so turnout might not be as low as predicted.

12.14: Dunedin mayoral candidate Aaron Hawkins has issued a stirring, uplifting and profound statement on how the campaign went.

12.05: Election candidates around the country are extremely freaked out right now as we wait for results. In Auckland, candidates are expecting a call on preliminary results at around 1pm, though they won’t be officially posted to the council website until 2pm. Thanks to a leak from a family insider, we can reveal the toll the wait is taking on one Auckland elected representative. Below is a photo of Albert-Eden-Puketāpapa councillor Cathy Casey stress-hoovering her porch. “She was hoovering the bath earlier,” the insider said.


The Spinoff local election coverage is entirely funded by The Spinoff Members. For more about becoming a member and supporting The Spinoff’s journalism, click here.


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