Lush ready to rock ‘n’ roll

    Invercargill’s newest elected councillor Marcus Lush in his home town of Bluff yesterday.

    BROADCASTER Marcus Lush wanted to make a change and to inspire people and now he will get to do just that with what looks to be landslide victory in the Invercargill City Council (ICC) by-election.

    The 54-year-old who said he was informed of his win when ICC chief executive Clare Hadley rang him about his victory yesterday, said he was “stoked” with the result.

    “I reckon local body politics is the new rock ‘n’ roll – is what they’re saying and I’m going with that.”

    Provisional results released yesterday indicate Mr Lush won the ICC by-election with more than half of the counted votes.

    He said Mrs Hadley congratulated him on his victory when she called.

    “To be honest, I don’t remember much of the conversation because I was really surprised.

    “I’m pretty overwhelmed about the result.”

    He started thinking about becoming involved in local politics years ago because people had told him the real work was done at the local body level.

    However, it was the Thomson report, which exposed ICC’s dysfunction, which finally prompted him to throw his hat in the ring for the vacant seat, he said.

    “I would have thought about running perhaps six to nine years ago, and I’ve always been of the belief I’m male, pale and stale, that I’m one of those, and we need to get diversity in the council.

    “I’m not sure how to make that happen but I thought if I could go to council and make it a positive experience… then hopefully I could encourage more people to come and give it a go.”

    Following the resignation of former deputy mayor Toni Biddle in October, nominations for new councillors were taken from November until December 22.

    Nine candidates put their hands up for the job with Wade Devine, Tom Downey, Simon Edwards, Bernadine Goldsmith, Wayne Harpur, Carl Heenan, Kevin Mulrooney and David Pottinger all throwing their names in the hat.

    Votes for the by-election closed at noon yesterday, and while the results were still provisional, it was safe to say Mr Lush had beaten other candidates a landslide victory with 7003 of the 13,991 votes counted so far.

    At the time Mr Lush announced his candidacy, he said his passions included developing youth spaces and improving housing affordability.

    He said he had put a huge amount of thought into the decision to stand and was excited about the campaign and learning curve ahead if he was elected.

    Deputy Electoral Officer Michael Morris said Mr Lush received more than half of the votes counted.

    “While special votes still need to be counted, as well as any votes dropped off to our ballot boxes today, the margin between the candidates is significant enough that we are confident Mr Lush will be your next councillor,” Mr Morris said.

    The candidate with the second-most votes was Wayne Harpur with 1457, with Simon Edwards the third-most popular candidate with 1090 votes.

    It was not yet known how many votes were cast, however the return rate up until mid-afternoon yesterday showed 34.86% of the 40,132 eligible voters had returned their papers.

    Final confirmation of results, which would include special votes, would be announced on Saturday.

    • Additional reporting Laura Smith