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Wellington mayoralty: Andy Foster has the lead over Justin Lester

By Laura Dooney for rnz.co.nz

Wellington's mayoralty still hangs in the balance - with Andy Foster in front of incumbent Justin Lester by 715 votes, with more than 5000 special votes yet to be counted.

Wellington City Electoral Officer Warwick Lampp said approximately 90 percent of the votes received have been counted but a large number of last minute votes meant a preliminary result wouldn't be available until Sunday.

"Today, we collected 5563 votes, including special votes.

"This unprecedented volume of last-minute votes means we won't know the preliminary result until midday tomorrow, so this progress result may change."

Andy Foster said his mood had moved from being a "bit nervous" to being "cautiously optimistic".

He said he ran a good election campaign, and it had been "all-consuming" with little time to do anything other than campaign.

"I think a lot of people have voted because they wanted change, they want to get on with things in Wellington the things that are important to them haven't been delivered over the past three years.

"I'm very grateful to the support of all those people."

At his Johnsonville home, Justin Lester said he was disappointed.

"Look, this is life, you go into this subject to public scrutiny, it's a very public process.

"Congratulations to him, he's campaigned, and they spent a lot of money."

Mr Foster has previously said he spent $56,000 on the campaign so far, while Mr Lester spent $21,000.

Mr Lester said he was pleased the election was behind him so he could spend time with his family.

It was a waiting game, but he wasn't expecting to catch up to Mr Foster as the extra votes were counted, but if he did - he would get on with the job.

Andy Foster had always opposed the Shelly Bay development on the city's coast, as did Sir Peter Jackson, and that had lead to Sir Peter backing Andy Foster publicly, and financially.

Mr Lester said he would like to think Shelly Bay did not have too much to do with the result.

"It has lead to one large backer funding a mayoral opponent, but I think for all the wrong reasons.

"You have to know what this city's long-term future is about and not necessarily short-term. It's not about one decision, or one issue."

Meanwhile, the city council itself has had a shake-up, with 11 women getting spots around the table, and four men.

Youth candidates Teri O'Neill and Tamatha Paul have both won spots in their respective wards.

Tamatha Paul, who is 22, has been voted onto the Pukehīnau/Lambton Ward, and Teri O'Neill, 21, has made it on the Motukairangi/Eastern Ward.

Lower Hutt has an upset for the mayoral seat, with two-time city councillor Campbell Barry elected, ahead of three-term mayor Ray Wallace.

With 95 percent of votes counted by Saturday afternoon, Mr Wallace is almost 2000 votes behind his Labour Party challenger Campbell Barry.

Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy has been re-elected.

Progress results on Saturday afternoon show Mr Guppy has won with 2000 more votes than his nearest competitor.

The results are based on the counting of about 95 percent of the returned votes.

Wayne Guppy has been mayor of Upper Hutt since 2001.

And Anita Baker is the new mayor of Porirua after beating incumbent Mike Tana by a margin of 471.

She said she is humbled by the result, after what was a tough campaign.

Ms Baker said she wants to unite the city, clean up the harbour, and fix the city's infrastructure.

Progress results show Masterton's incumbent mayor Lyn Patterson has again been elected mayor.

Ms Patterson will be entering her third term as mayor of the district.

Greater Wellington Regional Council
The Greater Wellington Regional Council results are not complete, but the Wairarapa constituency had nominated Adrienne Staples, while five Wellington seats went to Thomas Nash, Glenda Hughes, Daran Ponter, Roger Blakeley, and David Lee.

And the Greater Wellington Regional councillor in charge of transport has not been re-elected onto the council.

Barbara Donaldson, who was standing in the Porirua-Tawa constituency has lost her spot.

The regional council has come under heavy criticism for its implementation and handling of a new bus network in Wellington, which has been plagued with issues since it was implemented.

In Lower Hutt, Prue Lamason and Josh van Lier took the seats, while Upper Hutt went to Ros Connelly.

The Kāpiti Coast and Porirua-Tawa constituencies have not yet been released.

Wellington mayor incumbent Justin Lester, left, and challenger Andy Foster, right. Source: rnz.co.nz