The National, Wednesday July 1st, 2012
By CLEMENT KAUPA
BUSINESSMAN and ardent rugby league promoter Labi Amaiu is the new member-elect for Moresby Northeast.
At 5.40pm yesterday, Amaiu edged out strong contender John Kaupa to win the hot seat by 31 votes.
In a nerve-wracking race that kept polling officials and scrutineers on the edge, Amaiu polled 8,673 to Kaupa’s 8,642 after incumbent MP Andrew Mald’s box was distributed pending his elimination in round 45.
The absolute majority was 8,658 which qualified Amaiu as MP-elect for Moresby Northeast ahead of
Kaupa, a four-time contestant for the seat.
“The next five years will be different and you can bank on it,” Amaiu declared to his supporters after his declaration by reappointed returning officer Douglas Hare.
Speaking about his rivals, he said: “You are all true leaders in your own rights and I highly respect your leadership.”
This brought to a close the last open electorate in NCD after an extended period riddled with delays and fueled by controversies and conflicts over polling and counting issues.
It was also the second time for an NCD candidate in this election to win by a score that was the same as the candidate’s allocated box number.
MP-elect for Moresby South Michael Malabag’s box was 17 and he won by 17 votes. Amaiu’s box was 31 and he won by 31 votes.
Amaiu is from Engan but grew up in Western Highlands province.
He is a businessman, prominent promoter of rugby league in Port Moresby and a community leader in the 5-Mile area.