1 Jul 2013

Labour wins Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election

6:06 am on 1 July 2013

The Labour Party's Meka Whaitiri has won the Ikaroa-Rawhiti seat with a strong majority.

The seat was left vacant by the death of Labour MP, Parekura Horomia, in April.

Meka Whaitiri and Labour Party leader David Shearer (left).

Meka Whaitiri and Labour Party leader David Shearer (left). Photo: RNZ

Radio New Zealand's political reporter says the wharekai at Manutuke Marae has been packed with Meka Whaitiri's supporters, including Labour Party leader, David Shearer, and other Labour MPs.

Mr Shearer says he's thrilled to welcome Ms Whaitiri into the Labour caucus, and she will be a hard-working MP, who will follow in the legacy of Parekura Horomia.

Ms Whaitiri says she knows she has big shoes to fill, but says she will fight for the people of Ikaroa-Rawhiti in Parliament.

With all the polling booths counted, Ms Whaitiri won 4368 votes, a majority of 1761 votes over Mana's Te Hamua Nikora.

Mr Nikora says he's proud of coming second to the powerhouse that is the Labour Party, and he wishes Meka Whaitiri all the best.

The mood was sombre among the 100 supporters at Te Kuri a Tuatai Marae in Gisborne when the results came through, but many are now celebrating the achievement.

Mr Nikora says it feels like the Mana Movement has won and he is looking forward to standing in the general election next year.

The Maori Party's Na Raihania was 503 votes behind Mana's candidate, which will be a big disappointment to the party.

Mr Raihania says low turnout probably contributed to the party's third placing.

He says the low turnout affected Labour and the Maori Party the most, with the Mana Party getting about the same vote as at the 2011 general election.

Mr Raihania says the Maori Party and Mana Party, which together gained more votes than Labour, should sit down and have a talk.

He says there are lot of people he needs to have discussions with before he decides whether to stand again in 2014.

The Green Party's Marama Davidson won 1188 votes.

Just over 10,000 voters went to the polls.