Nikki makes history in Auckland Central

Last updated 13:54 11/11/2008
JASON OXENHAM/Auckland City Harbour News
FRESH FACE: Nikki Kaye is the new Auckland Central MP and the first National candidate to hold the post.

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In terms of politics, Nikki Kaye is the new kid on the block.

But months of pounding Auckland city pavements and talking to the public have led her to a record success.

Ms Kaye beat incumbent Auckland Central MP Judith Tizard to the seat by 1181 votes on Saturday, becoming the first National Party candidate to hold the post.

The 28-year-old business director says the experience is "pretty humbling" and it’s an achievement she won’t be taking lightly.

"With any privilege comes responsibility and I’m very mindful of that."

She attributes part of her success to getting out and meeting people in the electorate.

"I was very fortunate to have some superb volunteers on the ground.

"We had a massive door knocking effort and knocked on more than 10,000 doors.

"It showed that grass roots campaigning really does work."

A mood for change in the city and its changing demographic also played a part in the swing to National, she says.

"I felt the mood on the ground was pretty good for me and for National. I felt there was a really good chance I could take the seat."

Ms Kaye says she aims to represent her constituents well during the next three years on a range of issues, including supporting small businesses in the city.

Protecting the Hauraki Gulf is a key issue, along with affordable housing and inner city crime, she says.

"I’m really humbled to be elected and will work hard for the people."

She flew to Wellington yesterday for the National Party’s first caucus meeting.

Meanwhile, Ms Tizard arrived at her Ponsonby electoral office on Monday morning to find the front door lock superglued shut by a prankster, but was able to get in and start packing it up.

She was "surprised and disappointed" by the weekend’s results.

"People had obviously made up their minds and we all move on, it’s called democracy.

"I think New Zealanders had decided it was time for a change," she says.

Ms Tizard, who was ranked No 38 on the Labour Party list, has held the seat since 1996 and says she is proud of the work she has done for the electorate.

"We’ve helped thousands of people. Auckland is a better place for our work."

Having been an MP for both Panmure and Auckland Central for the past 18 years, she is excited to have some time out to decide what her next move is.

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She says being an MP is a "most extraordinary privilege" but she is looking forward to having time to spend with her family.

"A good MP has 100 other things they would like to do.

"It will be wonderful to spend some real time with family and friends and the lovely Labour Party people who work really hard on policy and campaigning."

- Auckland City Harbour News

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