15 Jun 2020

Greg O'Connor goes electorate only for 2020 election

From Checkpoint, 5:11 pm on 15 June 2020

It's all or nothing this election for Labour MP Greg O'Connor, who is gambling a second term on winning the Wellington electorate of Ōhāriu - shaping up as a tight race - after taking himself off the party list.

The former police union boss won the seat by 1051 votes after long-time local MP and United Future leader Peter Dunne abandoned his campaign just weeks out from the 2017 election. 

National still convincingly took out the party vote in the seat and has done for multiple consecutive elections.

The competition has ramped up even further, with NZ First MP Tracey Martin  - who is also the minister for children and Seniors and Associate Minister of Education -  revealing she would contest the seat too.

O'Connor told RNZ's Checkpoint he was happy to be an electorate-only MP.

"I like being an electorate MP and that's where I think my skills are best suited."

"I'm a first-term MP. I've worked hard in this electorate and I'm keen to be the electorate MP. If I'm not chosen, so be it, I'll go and do something else. It's all or nothing."

His strategy for beating Martin was straightforward: "get more votes".

"First, second and third rule of politics: learn to count. If I end up getting more votes on the day, I'll win. There's no more strategy than that."

O'Connor said that being electorate-only would mean he would be more available for the people of Ōhāriu.

"I've never been a minister so I can't speak from that point of view. All I know is, I'm enjoying being an electorate MP and I'd like to think I'm doing the best job for the constituents here."