Counting resumes, race for last two seats intensifies
COUNTING in the Tweed Shire Council poll resumed this morning, with the race for the last two seats intensifying.
As of 11am today and with 38,724 votes counted, the top five seats look to be decided, with Greens candidate Katie Milne claiming the most popular vote with 13.2% of the total vote, including some of the pre-polling results which have begun to be added to the tally.
She is followed by Nationals stalwart Warren Polglase who looks certain to secure his fifth term on council with 11.5%, followed by Liberal newcomer James Owen on 9.8%, who put in a strong showing and Labor staffer Reece Byrnes who collected 9.2% of the vote.
Murwillumbah businessman Pryce Allsop, an independent who preferenced the conservatives, was the surprise package of the election, delivering a strong vote of 7.1%.
Pottsville community candidate Chris Cherry looks set to take out the sixth spot on council with 4.7%, but declined to claim victory this morning, saying she would have to wait until pre-poll and postal votes were included in coming days.
The real race is on for the seventh and final seat, with Ron Cooper (3.5%) and Barry Longland (3.1%) jockeying for the spot, however preferences may see any number of the remaining candidates, including Jayne Henry (2.6%) and Gary Bagnall (2.5%) fall over the line.
A massive 24.31% of the electorate lodged their votes during pre-polling, which is expected to favour the parties.
Meanwhile, in the referendum, it looks certain the chamber will remain at seven councillors, with 61.5% of people voting against increasing its size.
RESULTS SO FAR (TOTAL VOTE):
Group A: Warren Polglase - 11.5%
Group B: Chris Cherry - 4.7%
Group C: Jayne Henry - 2.6%
Group D: Katie Milne (Greens) - 13.2%
Group E: Michael McNamara - 2.0%
Group F: James Owen (Liberal) - 9.8%
Group G: Dot Holdom - 2.1%
Group H: Pryce Allsop - 7.1%
Group I: Barry Longland - 3.1%
Group J: Kevin Skinner - 1.6%
Group K: Gary Bagnall - 2.5%
Group L: Carolyn Byrne - 2.0%
Group M: Ron Cooper - 3.5%
Group N: Reece Byrnes (Labor) - 9.2%
Group O: Kaye Sharples - 2.0%
Dion Andrews - 1.0%
Suzie Hudson - 0.2%
Das Mathuranatha - 0.1%
James McKenzie - 0.1%
INFORMAL VOTE: 11.3%
REFERENDUM: 61.5% No vote