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O'Connor regains West Coast-Tasman

23:06 Sat Nov 26 2011

Labour's Damien O'Connor has won back his West Coast-Tasman seat, his gamble of turning down a list place paying off.

Mr O'Connor upset his party with accusations it was run by a "gaggle of gays and unionists", but that appears to have gone down well with Coasters, who delivered him a 2287 winning margin on Saturday night.

Provisional results saw him tally 14,646 votes, ahead of National's Chris Auchinvole's 12,359.

Mr O'Connor lost West Coast-Tasman in 2008 to Mr Auchinvole by a margin of 971, which sent the former cabinet minister into the wilderness briefly, but he returned to parliament as a list MP in 2009.

However, he eschewed the possibility of a free ride into Parliament on the list system for this election.

The West Coast-Tasman race had its quirks.

Green Party candidate Kevin Hague earned 1796 votes but earlier admitted he would vote for Mr O'Connor in a bid to unseat Mr Auchinvole.

Also in the race was former bank robber and anti-1080 campaigner Clyde Graf, who garnered 423 votes.

While dumping Mr Auchinvole, the electorate did not appear to hold a grudge against the National government. In the party vote they backed National with 14,340 votes to Labour's 8510.