Laws secures seat, rival's recount bid rejected

Michael Laws has secured his hold on an Otago Regional Council seat as his rival's bid for a recount was rejected.

The former National MP and Wanganui mayor , Mr Laws gained a seat as one of three Dunstan constituency members on the council, polling five votes ahead of incumbent Gary Kelliher.

Mr Kelliher, a Springvale farmer, applied to a district court judge for a recount of the votes and Judge Paul Kellar has declined the application.

In his written decision today, Judge Kellar said the closeness of the voting, by itself, was not reasonable grounds to believe the declaration of the voting numbers was incorrect and that on a recount, Mr Kelliher might be elected.

The process in this instance, was robust and provided sufficient checks and balances to ensure accurate results, Judge Kellar said.

Mr Kelliher was ``absolutely gutted, frustrated and disappointed'' by his application being declined and was unsure whether he had any recourse.

Mr Laws was relieved the process was completed and the final election results were regarded as accurate, and seen by a judge as such.

``To Dunstan constituents, I say thank you and rest assured that I'm going to Dunedin as an active advocate for their interests.

The regional council requires dramatic reform and to start re-engaging with the Central Otago and Lakes communities, '' he said. 

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