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Sepuloni mulls petition after Bennett regains Waitakere

By Rebecca Watson

Published: 5:35PM Friday December 16, 2011 Source: ONE News

Defeated Labour Waitakere candidate Carmel Sepuloni says she is considering an electoral petition after a recount handed the seat to National's Paula Bennett.

Sepuloni was declared the winner of the seat on Saturday after a recount had her winning by 11 votes.

However results of a judicial recount released today confirmed Bennett, who held the seat before the election, regained it by just nine votes.

In a statement, Sepuloni said she would take a "breather" before deciding on a next step.

"I would also like to congratulate Paula Bennett on her win this evening," she said.

"[We will] make a decision in due course whether or not we go through with an electoral petition," she said.

A petition to challenge an electorate vote has to be presented to the High Court within 28 days of official election results being released.

Today's result means Sepuloni is out of Parliament as she is not high enough on the list, while Labour list MP Raymond Huo, the party's Chinese community affairs spokesperson, re-enters Parliament.

Sepuloni told ONE News political reporter Jessica Mutch she was determined to fight the seat in 2014.

Bennett, who was promoted to the frontbench in Prime Minister John Key's Cabinet announcement this week, said it was good news for her.

She said her staff were "troopers" and they will be celebrating tonight.

Bennett retained her Social Development and Youth Affairs portfolios in Key's Cabinet announcement.

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