Celia Wade-Brown wins Wellington mayoralty

Celia Wade-Brown - a Green councillor - has won the race and been elected mayor of Wellington for the next three years.

She will be sworn in as mayor on Wednesday 27 October.

Ms Wade-Brown beat incumbent Kerry Prendergast by a total of 176 votes in the end, 24,881 to 24,705 votes - believed to be the closest mayoral race the capital has seen.

A total of 632 special votes were finally included.

Some 963 special votes were originally issued. Of these, 774 were returned to the electoral office by the deadline of 12 noon last Saturday. A total of 90 special votes had to be discarded because they could not be verified by the Registrar of Electors. Another 52 votes were disallowed because the declarations were not in order.

The results for city councillors were announced on Saturday: Ngaire Best, Justin Lester and Helene Ritchie (Northern Ward), Jo Coughlan, Andy Foster and John Morrison (Onslow-Western Ward), Stephanie Cook, Ian McKinnon and Iona Pannett (Lambton Ward), Ray Ahipene-Mercer, Leonie Gill and Simon Marsh (Eastern Ward), Paul Eagle and Bryan Pepperell (Southern Ward).

The declaration of the final election result will be published in local newspapers this Friday. The mayor and councillors take office on the day after the official declaration (Saturday). However they cannot act until they are sworn in on 27 October. Non-returning councillors and Ms Prendergast will leave office on Saturday.

Voter turnout was 40.1%, a slight increase on the 2007 election turnout of 40 percent.

In a statement outgoing mayor Prendergast said: ''It goes without saying that I am tremendously disappointed at the outcome of the election. But I congratulate Celia and sincerely wish her all the very best for the huge job she now faces.

After working 12-hour days for nine years, it will be a huge change for me and it will take me some time to get used to it.

I would like to pay tribute to the councillors and staff I have worked with since joining Wellington City Council in 1989, and particularly since I became mayor in 2001.

There have been disagreements and differing views, but together we have made many bold and innovative decisions that have helped transform this city from the grey bureaucratic town it was into the diverse and exciting place we know today."

"I would like to thank my family, who have had to share me with the city of Wellington for a long time. If there is any consolation to be had, it is in the fact that I can now spend more time being a wife, mother and grandmother."

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