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Wagner takes Christchurch Central

18:07 Sat Dec 10 2011

The woman who has taken the once safe Christchurch Central seat off Labour does not think the earthquake that devastated the city was the reason for her victory.

National's Nicky Wagner has won the seat from Labour's Brendon Burns by 45 votes after a count of special votes released on Saturday resolved a dead heat on election night.

Burns, who still had an answerphone message that says he's the MP for Christchurch Central today, will not return to Parliament because he is not high enough on his party's list.

He's asked for a judicial recount and says the result reflects the number of people who have left the city since the earthquakes.

Ms Wagner said the magnitude 6.3 earthquake in February may have influenced the result but there was a swing to National across the country.

"I think it has played a part but I don't know if the result would have been different if we hadn't had an earthquake.

"The jury's out a little bit for me over how much it's made a difference."

She said the result may reflect the fact that Prime Minister John Key comes from Christchurch and is committed to rebuilding the city.

Eastern Christchurch has been identified for a trial of charter schools in an agreement between National and the ACT Party that allowed National to form a government.

Ms Wagner said the rebuild of the city provided opportunities to look at how to deliver education and training.