Auckland election: Wayne Brown may lose council majority at the table as seats change hands

5:01 pm on 10 October 2022

By Todd Niall of Stuff

Wayne Brown

Wayne Brown Photo: RNZ / Lucy Xia

Newly elected mayor Wayne Brown may lose his narrow majority of support around the Auckland Council table, with two seats changing hands in the latest vote count to favour left-leaning councillors.

However, a sitting councillor said that was no indication of how the voting would go on any given issue.

The council released its provisional election results about midday on Monday.

In the Albert-Eden-Puketāpapa Ward, City Vision's Julie Fairey had now been elected - provisionally, displacing Communities and Residents (C&R) candidate Will McKenzie for one of the two ward seats.

Fairey had trailed McKenzie by 286 votes on the night, seeming to have failed to retain the seat held by retiring left-leaning councillor Cathy Casey, but now leads McKenzie by 551 votes.

She said on Twitter she was "frankly shocked", Fairey said.

In the Whau ward in the city's west, Labour's Kerrin Leoni had missed out on the night by 150 votes, but was now leading C&R's Tracy Mulholland by 278 votes.

The tally was now at nine left-leaning councillors and nine right-leaning councillors. The remaining two - Desley Simpson and Andy Baker - had been known to vote both ways.

The preliminary results included all 400,275 votes cast in the election, except for special votes. Those will be tallied up before October 14.

The chair of Auckland Council's environment committee Richard Hills at Beach Haven beach.

Councillor Richard Hills says he assumes "mayor Brown will work with all of us to get things through this time too". Photo: Alexia Russell

The two changes in the 20 ward seats could tip the balance slightly away from centre-right mayor Wayne Brown having a clear majority around the council table.

However, North Shore councillor Richard Hills, who chaired the council's environment and climate change committee last term, said talk of a left-right split had been exaggerated.

The 10-year budget, which was passed in 2021, was supported 17-4 and the council's climate action plan was supported unanimously.

Auckland councillors also voted unanimously in 2019 to declare a climate emergency.

"I assume mayor Brown will work with all of us to get things through this time too," Hills said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, Jake Law, who for a while intended to run for mayor as the youngest candidate, also had some good news in the provisional results.

He gained a spot on the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board after missing out by just 49 votes on the night.

Monday's results showed he had displaced Nicholas Mitchell by 170 votes.

Mayoral candidate Wayne Brown says having a dedicated voting day, along with an online voting option, could help increase voter turnout in Auckland.

Wayne Brown Photo: David White / STUFF

In the mayoral race, nearly 74,000 additional votes had been shared among the frontrunners, with Brown's tally rising by 36,000 to 180,173, runner-up Efeso Collins up by 32,000 to 122,420, and third place-getter Craig Lord up by 6000 to 24,707.

Auckland's voter turnout could match the 2019 record low of 35.3 percent once special votes are added to the tally later this week.

Updated figures for votes other than specials put the 2022 turnout at 35 percent, with 400,000 votes cast.

The lowest turnout was in Ōtara at 21.9 percent, and the highest in mainland Auckland was 51 percent in Warkworth, followed by 46 percent in Wellsford and 45 percent in Ōrākei.

*This story originally appeared on Stuff

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