Greens' McCready wants recount

THE result of the Tweed Shire Council election has been plunged back into limbo after Greens candidate Kevin McCready, who narrowly missed a spot, yesterday said his party would call for a recount.

The move creates a repeat of the tortuous 2004 council election when another cliff-hanger result led to a recount that changed the standing of several of the last candidates to be elected.

It has scuttled hopes by council staff of calling a special meeting of new councillors this Friday to elect a mayor and deputy mayor.

New "final" figures released yesterday morning, after a correction to counting, which the state electoral office referred to as an "anomaly", confirmed former councillor and president of the Murwillumbah Chamber of Commerce, Phil Youngblutt, was ahead of Mr McCready.

Mr Youngblutt had 3674 votes after preferences and Mr McCready 3626 -- a difference of 48, requiring just 25 to go Mr McCready's way for him to have won.

A complete recount would require a deposit of $16,000 from Mr McCready or the Greens Party, which also has team leader Katie Milne elected.

Mr McCready said that would be refunded if the Greens were successful on the recount which he described as vital in determining the make-up of the council and "the future of the Tweed Valley".

"I think the community might like to have a big fundraising party," he added.

Mr McCready, along with other candidates, has 24 hours to lodge a claim for a recount after returning officer Len Sparreboom officially advised them of the result about noon yesterday. Mr McCready said the grounds for seeking a recount would include the huge number of votes that were "exhausted" because many voters did not number sufficient preferences.

"We have credible reports that polling officials were telling people to vote "1" above the line or just "4" below the line," he said.

"The optional preferential system is anti-democratic. It doesn't reflect people's views because of the number of votes exhausted.

"The Greens have been saying for a long time it is a bad system and should be replaced."

Mr Youngblutt said the Greens required for a full recount.

"They contacted all the other candidates wanting us to tell them where our money was coming from. They should be telling everyone where this money is coming from," he said.

Former mayor Warren Polglase, who asked voters to give Mr Youngblutt's team their preferences, was scathing of the recount request.

"It's exactly like 2004," he said.

"It must mean a lot for them to go for a recount."

A council spokesperson said it seemed plans for a special meeting this Friday would have to be abandoned because new councillors had to be given three clear working days notice of a meeting.



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