Lush clear winner in council by-election

Marcus Lush is looking forward to joining the Invercargill City Council. PHOTO: LUISA GIRAO
Marcus Lush is looking forward to joining the Invercargill City Council. PHOTO: LUISA GIRAO
New Invercargill city councillor Marcus Lush knows the job he has ahead will not be easy.

That was made clear when most calls the Newstalk ZB broadcaster received yesterday were not to congratulate him on his by-election win, but to say “thanks for taking one for the team”.

However, Mr Lush wanted to take the opportunity to make a change and inspire other people to be more involved in local politics.

“I reckon local body politics is the new rock’n’roll — that’s what they are saying and I’m going with that.”

Provisional results released yesterday indicate Mr Lush won the council by-election with more than half the counted votes.

The 55-year-old was informed of his win by Invercargill City Council chief executive Clare Hadley.

He was “stoked” with the result, as he had moved to Southland 20 years ago and was not sure if the community would embrace him as a representative.

“I’m pretty overwhelmed about the result.”

He started thinking about becoming involved in local politics years ago because people had told him the real work was done at the local body level.

However, it was the Thomson report, which exposed the council’s dysfunction, that finally prompted him to stand for the seat left vacant by former deputy mayor Toni Biddle last year, he said.

The report was a wake-up call to him as it seemed to him that if the council did not sort its issues soon, it would be losing "some great people".

A passionate resident of Bluff,

Mr Lush said he would continue his radio work.

Votes for the by-election closed at noon yesterday, and Mr Lush secured a landslide victory, claiming 7003 of the 13,991 votes counted so far.

Wayne Harpur (1457 votes) was the second-highest polling candidate, followed by Simon Edwards (1090 votes).

Final confirmation of results will be announced on Saturday.

Invercargill Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt used social media to congratulate Mr Lush.

"I am optimistic his election to the table will help provide a new, positive, kind and progressive dynamic to the council.

"May we turn a corner for the success of the city."


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