Nathan Guy wins Ōtaki electorate
Ōtaki MP Nathan Guy is hoping to see National return for a fourth term of Government, but plans to advocate strongly on various issues in his electorate either way.
Guy won the seat for the fourth time on Saturday night with a 6042-vote majority over Labour's Rob McCann.
National also took out the party vote there, with its 47.2 per cent share well ahead of Labour's 35.2 per cent.
Guy has been the Ōtaki MP since 2008, after being unsuccessful in his first attempt in 2005, when Labour's Darren Hughes held the seat.
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He said he was "very privileged and honoured" to win the seat again.
"It's a very solid result in Ōtaki for National, with my second-highest majority in my five elections.
"It looks like it is now a very solid National seat."
He hoped to be back in Government – NZ First holds the balance of power and has not decided whether to go with National or a Labour-Greens alliance – but had a range of issues to push for Ōtaki residents anyway.
Those included extending the Kāpiti Expressway north of Levin, securing the Capital Connection commuter train service, ensuring the right conditions for economic growth, helping figure out a solution for the Manawatū Gorge's roading troubles, and improving health services.
Guy also talked about the shock result for the Māori Party, which failed to get an MP elected, describing this as a "real shame".
He had worked closely with Māori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell while Guy was minister for primary industries and of civil defence, and associate minister for economic development.
"We will carry on the job, if we are in Government, with a real strong focus on Māori economic development and working closely with iwi," Guy said.
Many regions could benefit from the Government working with iwi to improve conditions for people there, he said.
McCann said the results proved that people wanted a change in Ōtaki, as Labour had closed up the gap from previous elections.
He was concerned people struggling to find rental properties and affordable houses to purchase would be left behind.
TAMATI TRAILS IN TE TAI HAUĀURU
Labour incumbent Adrian Rurawhe managed to hold on to Te Tai Hauāuru, and increase his party's share of the party vote there.
Final election-night results had Rurawhe with a 1135-vote lead over Māori Party candidate Howie Tamati.
Labour easily won the party vote race in the electorate with 58.1 per cent of the votes, up from 42.23 per cent in 2014.
Tamati was the experts' pick to take the electorate, and a poll also put him well ahead.
But just like in 2014, Rurawhe took it out on the night as Labour won all seven Māori electorates, casting the Māori Party out of Parliament.
The Māori Party's exit from Parliament was one of the big surprises of the night.
Rurawhe said he was always confident he would retain the seat.
Phone calls and door-knocking were key, as well as sending 5500 personalised letters.
Rurawhe said the team made sure to write the address on the envelope by hand every time, as that made them more likely to be opened.
"It's an old-fashioned way of doing things. But you know that if you do it, it is highly effective."
All seven Māori electorates going to Labour showed the party had a mandate to represent Māori, he said.
"That is going to be a strong focus for us."
Some of the big issues on the campaign trail had been homelessness, inequality and youth unemployment, he said.
"It means us as members of Parliament really need to hold our Government to account on these issues."
Labour still had a chance of being part of Government, with special votes possibly putting the party in a stronger position, he said.
Rurawhe was planning to get around the electorate as much as possible in the next term, especially with iwi in Horowhenua, Rangitīkei and Taranaki having Treaty of Waitangi settlements in the pipeline, he said.
NATIONAL TAKES OUT WHANGANUI
In Whanganui, the race between National's Harete Hipango and Labour's Steph Lewis was set to be one of the more interesting of the night.
The city had been in the safe hands of four-term National MP Chester Borrows, who called it quits before the election.
It was looking promising for Labour during the early results, before National overtook it in the party votes and Hipango slipped ahead of Lewis.
Hipango has 15,376 votes and Lewis has 13,535 votes.
Party votes in the city had Labour on 35.7 per cent, compared with National's 45.8 per cent.