Justin Lester's bid for recount in Wellington mayoralty race declined

Former Wellington mayor Justin Lester's bid for a recount of the votes after losing the city's mayoralty race by 62 votes has been declined by a District Court judge.

Judge Kevin Kelly found sufficient evidence in the electoral officer's report that the process of counting the votes was sound and there are "sufficient quality assurance and other checks in place to provide confidence in the results," the Wellington City Council said in a statement. 

In a tweet, Mr Lester said, "I fully respect the Judge's decision and the matter is now at an end. Good luck to the new Mayor and Council for the next three years!"

The new mayor, Andy Foster, won with 27,364 votes, compared to Mr Lester’s 27,302 votes.

In a statement, Mr Foster welcomed the judge's decision to decline a recount, saying, "This shows we can have confidence in the integrity of the voting system, both in Wellington and around the country, and it has also saved the ratepayers the significant cost of a recount."

"The evidence was also that a good number of the partial and informal votes were votes cast for me, and even if they had been counted, the result would not have changed.

"I am very pleased to get this behind us. We can now move on with certainty and get on with the business of Council. It is unfortunate that it has taken this long to get to this point."

Wellington Mayor Andy Foster has since chosen Motukairangi-Eastern Ward councillor Sarah Free as his Deputy Mayor.

Justin Lester.