15 Nov 2023

Judicial recounts confirm Helen White and Takutai Tarsh Kemp as electorate MPs

2:38 pm on 15 November 2023
Voting sign, election, ballot

Photo: RNZ / Kymberlee Fernandes

The final recount results from the election have come through, confirming the seat results for Tāmaki Makaurau and Mt Albert.

The results, published by the District Court, showed neither electorate recount resulted in a change in MP.

Helen White retained the Mt Albert seat over National's Melissa Lee, the margin decreasing by two votes to 18, compared to the Electoral Commission's official result published on 3 November.

Takutai Tarsh Kemp retained the Tāmaki Makaurau seat, increasing from a four-vote margin in the final results to a 42-vote margin.

Manurewa marae CEO Takutai Moana Natasha Kemp.

Takutai Tarsh Kemp Photo: RNZ / Simon Rogers

The preliminary results from election day suggested Labour's Peeni Henare had retained the seat, but the official results - which included special votes and vote checking processes - gave it to Kemp by just four votes.

In a statement, White said she was looking forward to continuing to represent Mt Albert in Parliament.

"The people of Mt Albert have elected me to be their MP and I will work hard every day to represent them," she said. "I would like to thank my Mt Albert team and the wider Labour Party for their work and support during the campaign.

"The result of the election wasn't what Labour hoped it would be, and we have work to do now to rebuild support - I am looking forward to working alongside my Labour colleagues and leader Chris Hipkins to do that."

Henare responded in a video on social media saying he was at peace with the result.

"It's been the greatest honour and privilege serving as the MP for Tāmaki Makaurau," he said.

He also defended his decision to seek the recount, after some comments made to him.

"For all voters in Tāmaki Makaurau, they deserve to know that the count was done and it was done properly."

Labour referred requests for comment from Henare to his video.

Both recounts were started at 9am on Monday 13 November, with the result unveiled by the courts just over two days later.

The only other recount from the 2023 general election - of the Nelson electorate votes - was published last Friday, and confirmed Labour's Rachel Boyack in the seat.

That recount - conducted from 11am on Thursday 9th - reduced Boyack's margin over National's Blair Cameron from 29 votes in the official count to 26.

The judicial recounts are carried out in the presence of a judge, scrutineers from both parties involved, electoral officers and counting staff - with all votes counted by hand.

Where confirmation was required about the status of an informal vote, this was determined by the judge in front of the scrutineers.

The deadline for applications for a recount closed on Wednesday 8 November.

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