5 Dec 2016

National rejects Mt Roskill 'bloody nose' claim

10:01 am on 5 December 2016

National is dismissing claims Labour's landslide victory in the Mt Roskill by-election is a "bloody nose" for the party and will hurt it at next year's election.

Michael Wood takes the stage after being named the winner of the Mt Roskill by-election.

Labour's Michael Wood said was "incredibly happy" with his result at the by-election. Photo: RNZ / Sarah Robson

Labour's Michael Wood won the by-election by a margin of more than 6000 votes, and received more than double those of National's Parmjeet Parmar.

National Party campaign chair Steven Joyce said the result did not indicate anything about the general election next year.

"It's just literally a by-election, which we knew was probably going to go this way," said Mr Joyce.

"I'm sure the Labour Party will be taking all sorts of credit and I encourage them to take as much as they can out of it. We know that next year is an entirely different contest, and we'll all have to work hard next year."

The seat was previously held by Labour's Phil Goff, who resigned when he won the Auckland mayoralty.

Labour leader Andrew Little predicted there would be some "spin" and said the Mt Roskill loss would hurt the government.

"The only reason the prime minister comes here for seven days and three days in a row is because he genuinely thinks he can get the numbers to win, because they won the party vote by 2000 [in the 2014 election].

"He will spin it how he likes, but this is a bloody nose for National.

"He came here flouncing around and he seemed to forget that the purpose of an election campaign is to win votes not selfies."

Mr Wood told Morning Report his victory showed people wanted change, which was promising for Labour in next year's election.

"There was a huge response on the ground to those core issues around affordable housing, taking action on crime, and fixing Auckland's transport."

Mr Wood said his first job as Mt Roskill MP was very specific.

"During the campaign, there was someone helping on my campaign who said to me, 'Michael, if you get elected, the first thing I want you to do is to organise a bit of community whip-around to organise presents and support for kids in this community who aren't necessarily going to have a good Christmas'."

The voter turn out at the by-election was low.

At the 2014 election more than 33,000 voted for a local MP, but this time, half that number turned out to vote.

The third placed candidate was Roshan Nauhria from the People's Party, who was well back with 709 votes.

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