Ria Bond to leave Parliament following election results
There were tears of disappointment for NZ First Invercargill candidate Ria Bond, who will leave Parliament.
Bond and her supporters were surprised she will no longer fill a seat in Parliament following the election results on Saturday.
At 11pm, NZ First had secured nine seats. Bond was 12th on the party list.
She gave an emotional speech to those out to support her on the night at The Kelvin Hotel in Invercargill.
But she said before the results, win or lose, she was in it for the people and had her heart in all of her projects.
"I can't be disappointed when I've lived so much in this role."
She was proud that the amount of people who voted for her had improved on the previous election and said she would not have changed any part of her campaign.
"There's more to my story and more for NZ First.
"We'll go back and try again ... this time it was not for me."
She could not be disappointed at the result with all that she had gained in the role, she said.
"I'm privileged to have been there and I'm proud of my leader. We've all worked hard.
"I want to contribute to my local electorate ... as long as I am doing good for people I'll be happy."
Bond felt she fulfilled her responsibilities in the role and wanted her story to inspire other young women to follow their dreams.
Growing up in foster care, being homeless as a young teen then struggling as a working mother meant she had a personal connection to her policies and role as MP.
Before the results, she said she felt confident she was backed by the community as she backed them, she said.
"The community knows I've worked hard.
"I've carried the voices of Invercargill to [Parliament in] Wellington. I've fought hard."
Although she would love to make it back for a second term as MP, the main goal was to make up the 9.2 per cent of party votes.
"I don't want to just be another token MP."
It was about doing right by the country, she said.
Bond said that her next project to sink her teeth into would be helping the Salvation Army with an initiative to help homeless people.
Homelessness was not just a problem in Auckland, so time and money needed to be invested, she said.
She believed the Government had been "grossly negligent" with its funding to people who needed it, including "fragile people", health care, disability and mental health sector.
She was "absolutely frustrated" with the current funding of those sectors, she said.
"In the past nine years the government has stripped money out of health."
Especially in Invercargill, with an older population, it was a concern, she said.
For now, she hopes to continue to benefit Southland in whatever role she fills.
Bond has had job offers so will be taking those up but will remain in politics.
"There will be many years left in me in politics. This is just a small speed bump."