10 Dec 2022

Hamilton West by-election: National's Tama Potaka cruises to victory

9:32 pm on 10 December 2022
Tama Potaka and his whanau at the National Party event at Novotel in Hamilton on the evening of the Hamilton West by-election on 10 December 2022.

National candidate Tama Potaka with his family Photo: Anneke Smith/RNZ

National candidate Tama Potaka is heading to Wellington as the new MP for Hamilton West after winning today's by-election.

With 100 percent of the vote counted, Potaka has won with 6629 votes, with Labour's Georgie Dansey trailing by 2285 with 4344 votes.

Dansey has now conceded in person to Potaka.

She said it was a tough battle, but she was still keen to represent Labour at next year's general election.

Act Party candidate James McDowall was well behind with 1462 votes, while former Labour MP Gaurav Sharma, whose resignation triggered the by-election, had 1156 votes.

Sharma said expected more votes, but the most important thing for him was to stand up and not be silenced.

He said the by-election result showed people were unhappy with the government.

Earlier this week, National Party leader said it would be 'incredibly difficult' for National to win Hamilton West by-election.

Labour's Georgie Dansey on the evening of the Hamilton West by-election. 10 December 2022.

Labour's Georgie Dansey Photo: Andrew McRae/RNZ

Polling booths opened this morning at 9am, and closed at 7pm.

Sharma, the winning candidate in the 2020 election, captured a 53 percent majority of the 39,034 valid electorate votes. The number of votes in today's by-election is tracking to be half of those cast in 2020.

Twelve candidates have been vying for the seat, but the by-election has been considered a two-horse race between the two main parties.

The by-election was triggered by the October resignation of Labour MP Gaurav Sharma.

Twenty voting places were operating across the electorate today.

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