Last-minute rush of Dunedin candidates

Former paralympic swimmer and community board candidate Jenny Newstead gets her paperwork in,...
Former paralympic swimmer and community board candidate Jenny Newstead gets her paperwork in, just minutes before the close of nominations for local body elections in Dunedin. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
A last-minute rush of candidates for Dunedin's local body elections found themselves up against the clock today.

As the seconds counted down to midday, when nominations closed, staff at Dunedin's electoral office - inside the Civic Centre building - were busy.

And, with just three minutes to go, Jenny Newstead became the last candidate to rush through the door.

Mrs Newstead, a former paralympian swimmer who is now standing for the Mosgiel Taieri Community Board, breezed in at 11.57am, papers in hand.

She told the Otago Daily Times she had hoped to arrive sooner, but had found herself busy with work and parking was a problem.

The last-minute rush had been "a little bit hectic'', but she made it in the end, she said.

"It wasn't meant to be last minute. It's just the way it ended up.

"I got through the door before 12pm. That's exciting.''

Two other council candidates made it through the door in the minutes before 12pm, but the doors were then closed as soon the Municipal Chambers clock chimed midday.

More than 40 nominations had been processed by Dunedin electoral staff in the last 24 hours, including at least 14 candidates today who were seeking DCC, Southern District Health Board or Otago Regional Council seats.

Deputy electoral officer Sharon Bodeker said the nominations had been "really steady'' but helped by a new online enrollment process, which smoothed the flow of paperwork coming in in recent weeks.

Despite that, a last-minute rush still saw one potential candidate turned away, because he had failed to enrol in time, while another had enrolled only while walking to the electoral office this morning.

"If it's last-minute and things aren't right, that makes it a bit trickier,'' she said.

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