One vote separates QLDC hopefuls; coin toss possible

Glyn Lewers (left) and AJ Mason. Photo: Allied Press files
Glyn Lewers (left) and AJ Mason. Photo: Allied Press files
When they say "every vote counts" they are not joking.

In what is likely the tightest election result in New Zealand, Queenstown Lakes District Council hopeful AJ Mason has edged out fellow candidate Glyn Lewers by one vote for the final seat around the council table - and it could yet come down to a coin toss.

After all votes were counted Mr Mason landed on 2814, while Mr Lewers had 2813.

Electoral officer Jane Robertson said she had not seen a closer race in the district in her 10 years in the role.

Mr Lewers has three days from when the result is officially declared to ask for a countback.

If both men ended up tied with the same number of votes, the seat would be decided by a coin toss.

The two candidates issued a joint statement last night, saying the result was "sadly appropriate" after the two strangers got to know each other on the campaign trail and found their positions often aligned.

"We're glad that at least one of us was elected, as we are sad that it wasn't both."

Mr Lewers said he had not made a decision yet on whether to pursue a recount, but Mr Mason said a one-vote margin "is pretty reasonable to take a look at".

A coin toss to decide between the pair, if a recount found them tied, would also be preferable to the expense of a by-election, Mr Mason said.

Provisional results from the weekend had Mr Lewers in front by five, on 2132, with 350 special votes to be counted.

The final result had Mayor Jim Boult with 6175 votes, ahead of Nik Kiddle (3999), a margin of 2176, and Al Angus (1344).

Wakatipu ward councillors were Craig Ferguson (3497), Val Miller (3116), Penny Clark (3005), John MacDonald (2833), Niki Gladding (2346) and Mr Mason.

Wanaka ward councillors were Quentin Smith (3373), Calum Macleod (2663) and Niamh Shaw (2522).

The voter turnout was 11,522 - 49.05%.


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