Two MPs emerge from Hamil­ton East elec­torate

Hamilton Press - - FRONT PAGE - KEL­LEY TANTAU

The gen­eral elec­tion may be over but can­di­date Jamie Strange is al­ready pre­par­ing ‘‘to win the Hamil­ton East seat in 2020’’.

‘‘You never quite know what the fu­ture holds,’’ said Strange, re­flect­ing on his cam­paign.

Strange stood for Labour in Hamil­ton East and missed out on the seat to Na­tional in­cum­bent David Ben­nett by 5500 votes.

How­ever, he is set to be­gin his maiden term in gov­ern­ment, en­ter­ing as a Labour List MP for Hamil­ton.

‘‘It’s a huge hon­our to be elected to par­lia­ment. I’m re­ally hum­bled by the op­por­tu­nity and I’m very keen to be a strong ad­vo­cate for Hamil­ton,’’ he said.

‘‘It is a bit of a sur­prise. You have a long-term plan and my plan did go a lit­tle fur­ther than this. I’d like to be in par­lia­ment for a num­ber of years, rep­re­sent­ing the peo­ple of Hamil­ton, and one of my goals will be to win the Hamil­ton East seat in 2020.’’

For four years, Strange has been cov­er­ing ground in pol­i­tics.

In 2013 he stood for Hamil­ton City Coun­cil, plac­ing ninth out of 27, and the next year, he ran as the Labour can­di­date in the Taupo elec­torate.

As a List MP for Hamil­ton, Strange will be fo­cus­ing on im­prov­ing health, trans­port, hous­ing, ed­u­ca­tion and com­mu­nity polic­ing.

‘‘We have empty po­lice sta­tions dot­ted across the city, while the po­lice are cen­tralised at the bot­tom end of Vic­to­ria St.

‘‘We need our hard-work­ing po­lice of­fi­cers back in our com­mu­ni­ties.’’

Strange will di­vide his time be­tween Hamil­ton and Welling­ton, and thanked his wife An­gela and fam­ily for sup­port­ing him along the po­lit­i­cal path­way.

Pre­lim­i­nary re­sults have Na­tional’s David Ben­nett claim­ing the Hamil­ton West seat with 16,449 votes.

‘‘Hamil­ton had the most to lose if we had a change of Gov­ern- ment,’’ Ben­nett said.

‘‘We made a plan for the next decade. Labour has given no sig­nif­i­cant cap­i­tal in­vest­ments to the area.

‘‘I felt that the pub­lic would look at what was in the in­ter­est of Hamil­ton and that (Na­tional) has a strong his­tory of de­liv­ery.’’

Ben­nett said Hamil­ton was per­form­ing well.

Peo­ple have a con­fi­dence in the city and un­der­stand the im­por­tance and suc­cess of growth, he said.

‘‘Ev­ery cam­paign has its own chal­lenges. This cam­paign was dif­fer­ent in the sense that it was mostly a drag race be­tween Na­tional and Labour.’’

Ben­nett said Hamil­ton East fol­lows na­tional trends and mir­rors a Na­tional cam­paign.

He will con­tinue cam­paign­ing for the Road of Na­tional Sig­nif­i­cance link­ing Hamil­ton to Tau­ranga.

Hamil­ton East Na­tional MP David Ben­nett re­ceives con­grat­u­la­tions from Hamil­ton East Labour can­di­date Jamie Strange dur­ing elec­tion night.

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