Raf Manji fancies another tilt at government: 'The road to 2020 starts now'
Raf Manji is down, but not out.
The Christchurch city councillor was soundly beaten by incumbent National MP Gerry Brownlee in the Ilam seat this election. Manji had run as an independent on an all-or-nothing Christchurch platform, hoping to leverage more money and direction for the city's rebuild. He was bullish about his chances, but lost by nearly 7000 votes.
But he didn't rule out running again. Movements such as The Opportunities Party, and his own candidacy, had unlocked an appetite for change, he said.
"People . . . are looking for a different type of progressive politics, where it's not so much about the party.
"Even thought neither of us were successful electorally, I think it is going to start a new conversation and the road to 2020 starts now."
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Manji returns to his day job this week. He said it was "unlikely" he would seek another term as a councillor and a bid at the city mayoralty was "not something that I've wanted to do". The 2020 election was more appealing.
"I definitely want to be involved in that conversation. How it manifests for me personally, I have no idea.
"I think that would be much more likely to be a party platform. It'll be interesting to see how that conversation develops . . . over the next few years."
Manji conceded on election night he was "a little bit" disappointed with his result and believed his independent status had cost him votes, along with a Green candidate, who won a chunk of support despite only campaigning for the party vote.
"I think with Labour and National it was more the fierce battle in that last 10 days and the whole focus on the two ticks had led to a lot of people just [doing that].
"It's a very solid result for Gerry. Obviously he's [won] the seat so good luck to him."
Brownlee was magnanimous in reply: "I've always got a lot of respect for anyone who puts their name on the ballot paper," he said.
"It's been a good campaign, a fair campaign and congratulations to [Raf] for what he has achieved."