Cliffhanger: a melodramatic adventure serial in which each installment ends in suspense in order to interest the reader or viewer in the next installment. Or
a situation or contest of which the outcome is suspensefully uncertain up to the very last moment . . . That was the Wellington mayoral election.
But this afternoon’s announcement of Celia Wade-Brown’s victory seems to bring the long-running serial to an end.
The last stage of vote counting started at midday. According to Radio New Zealand, there were 775 special votes which would decide the election. But another 98 needed more checking before a decision was made on whether they, too, could be counted.
Did the outgoing Mayor have any inside information? Yesterday, in the DomPost’s weird report suggesting that a toss of the coin could decide the result, Kerry Prendergast said she remained positive. This morning the DomPost headline said: “STV system may cost me election, says Prendergast.” It seems she has decided that the STV system (which re-elected her at the 2008 elections) is “unfair and undemocratic.”
Celia Wade-Brown, saying she is “interested in what’s best for Wellington,” has been discussing the possible allocation of portfolios. Kerry Prendergast said it was too early for “backroom deals.” But this was not a good choice of words. They are a reminder of past concern about an excess of council decisions made with the public excluded. The close vote is a reminder that transparency and openness should be replacing backroom meetings for the new council’s decision-making.