Labour candidate for Ōtaki, Terisa Ngobi is in a tight contest with National candidate Tim Costley.
The Ōtaki elecorate’s Labour and National candidates are neck and neck.
Labour’s Terisa Ngobi is marginally in the lead on 6905 votes, with National’s Tim Costley nipping at her heels on 6850 votes.
41.1 per cent of the vote has been counted.
The Green Party’s Bernard Long is third, on 616 votes.
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Ngobi said the race was “nail-biting”, but it was great to be in the lead.
“I think lifting the party vote in the electorate was great, the seat would be a great bonus.”
She said it was nerve-wracking because Ōtaki’s numbers were the last to come in, and there was still a long way to go.
She was ecstatic about Labour’s majority, and thought it deserved another term.
She said it had done some “progressive stuff”, but three years was not enough.
The Ōtaki electorate stretches from Horowhenua’s Foxton in the north, through Levin, Ōtaki and Waikanae, and ends partway through Paraparaumu.
Nathan Guy, who has held the seat for National for 12 years, decided to leave politics.
The seat has traded hands between parties over the years, with Labour’s Darren Hughes holding it from 2002 until Guy took it in 2008.
Guy had a 6156 vote lead on Labour’s Rob McCann in 2017.
Terisa Ngobi won the Labour nomination, taking over from McCann, while Tim Costley won the National nomination.
Ngobi was selected in March, but unsuccessfully ran for a seat on Horowhenua District Council in the Levin Ward in the 2019 elections, finishing mid-pack among the 19 candidates for five seats.
Born and raised in Horowhenua, she spent the past 16 years working in government and non-profit organisations.
National’s Tim Costley went to Palmerston North Boys’ High School before embarking on a 20-year air force career which took him to East Timor and Afghanistan.
He and his wife had spent much of the past two decades in the area due to family connections and work, and he was passionate about the area he was set to move to.
The Green Party’s Bernard Long, ACT’s Wayne Grattan, New Conservative candidate Martin Frauenstein, Attica Party candidate Michael Kay and Social Credit candidate Amanda Vickers are also standing.
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