123 votes for National wrongly given to Māori Party

  • 02/10/2017

An electoral expert says slow and steady really does win the race when it comes to counting votes.

More than 100 votes in Linkwater intended for National were given to the Māori Party during the first count.

But Andrew Geddis, politics professor from the University of Otago, says the initial tally is not foolproof.

"We'd like the electoral officials to get it near to perfect, but we have to remember they're human beings. Our system has checks built into it so we're not relying on just one count on election night."

Locals in the rural township suspected something was up when the preliminary results showed that of the 215 votes cast there, more than half were for the Māori Party. National only got 32, and Labour, 30.

A data entry error meant 123 votes for National were recorded for the Māori Party instead.

Most of Linkwater's residents are farmers, who tend to vote overwhelmingly for National.

Prof Geddis says it proves why multiple counts are needed.

"There is a second round of counting which is done at a more leisurely pace with a few more checks to ensure that the count is absolutely certain."

The final election results will be released on October 7, which is when Winston Peters says he will begin negotiations to decide the next Government.