9 Nov 2008

Swing away from Labour in North Island seats

8:41 pm on 9 November 2008

The swing to National in party votes has been reflected in the electorates.

Auckland Central was lost by former Labour cabinet minister Judith Tizard, who will not return to Parliament because she's not high enough on the party list.

Damien O'Connor, who lost the West Coast-Tasman seat, and Mark Burton, who lost in Taupo, are also out of Parliament for the same reason.

Harry Duynhoven lost the New Plymouth seat and Martin Gallagher lost Hamilton West. Both are also out of Parliament.

Other seat losses for Labour were: Darren Hughes in Otaki, Steve Chadwick in Rotorua and Lynne Pillay in Waitakere. However, all three will return as MPs on the Labour party list.

Otaki was the most marginal seat in 2005, when Darren Hughes held on for a second term with a majority of just 382 votes over the National Party's Nathan Guy.

This time the tables were turned with Mr Guy, National's senior whip, winning by a margin of 1,422.

Maungakiekie in South Auckland, which was held by Mark Gosche who has retired, also went to National.

However, Labour retained Wellington Central with its candidate Grant Robertson about 1,500 votes ahead of National's Stephen Franks.

Mr Robertson put his win down to a strong party organisation, but he conceded that tactical voting in his favour from Green supporters played a part.

Labour's Christopher Hipkins won the Rimutaka seat, previously held by Labour MP Paul Swain, who has retired.

Iain Lees-Galloway held Palmerston North for Labour, which was vacated by retiring Labour MP Steve Maharey.

National held Napier, Tukituki, Wairarapa, and Whangarei.