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Ousted Wellington Mayor, Justin Lester says he will apply for a vote recount

Former Wellington Mayor Justin Lester has confirmed he will apply for a recount after final election results have revealed he lost by only 62 votes.

Wellington City Council today confirmed that the new mayor, Andy Foster, won with 327,364 votes compared to Mr Lester’s 327,302 votes.

Andy Foster. Source: Wellington City Council

Mr Lester told 1 NEWS he will apply for a recount after taking advice from a local lawyer specialising in electoral law. 

"It is incumbent upon me to put my best foot forward," he said.

He said he has had "many hundreds" of messages of support but was realistic about his chances.

“Realistically I’m still 62 votes behind, it would take quite some change for that to be amended.”

Mr Lester added he was "incredibly humbled it was such a close contest and that people made the effort to make a special vote in my favour".

He said he would be covering "all legal costs" and that it will be up to the council to determine the cost of the actual recount. 

ElectionNZ chief returning officer Warwick Lampp told 1 NEWS the application has to be made within three days of the final election results being published in the local paper.

He confirmed the Dominion Post will publish the results on Tuesday.

A recount application would need to be made to the District Court at a cost of about $750.

Following this, Mr Lampp said it was at a judge's discretion if there will be a recount and what the cost would be.

"It will be more than $50,000 but not more than $100.000," he said.

He said election insurance may cover the cost of the recount.

"If the judge decides there's going to be a recount, it will happen in the same manner as the first count - using scanning technology.

"Each candidate can have a scrutineer there and the process could take up to a week," Mr Lampp said.

He said there has been a robust process in calculating results "in a system that is audited and certified."

Currently elected Mayor, Andy Foster told 1 NEWS that Mr Lester has the right to apply for a recount but it will come at a cost.

"Somebody will have to pay.

"He has to apply to a judge who will have to weigh up the cost of getting that processing done," he said.

“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind week and I’m trying to get the council up and running, so this doesn’t help at all," he said, adding he wished "the margin was a little bit bigger."


 

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Andy Foster won the title after being backed by the Hollywood heavyweight. Source: 1 NEWS

Justin Lester. Source: JustinLester.org