Labour MPs are ‘optimistic’
Labour’s Aupito William Sio and Willie Jackson are remaining relentless positive they can form the next Government.
Despite National winning 46 per cent of the party vote based on the current returns, Sio reiterates that the vote for opposition parties was still the largest bloc.
‘‘I’m really optimistic,’’ he said shortly after arriving at Labour’s election night headquarters at the Aotea Centre on Saturday night.
‘‘I think the country has voted for change. At the moment there’s 59 seats for National and Act and 61 for the three opposition parties [of Labour, Greens and NZ First].’’
Sio, who has just won his fourth Mangere electorate election, this time beating National’s Agnes Loheni by a margin of 11,000 votes, says he’s quietly confident NZ First leader Winston Peters will be influenced by the vote distribution.
‘‘I think the special votes and overseas votes will favour us but I’m also optimistic that Winston, because of the mood for change, that he’ll be rather reluctant to go back with National. I think he’s heard the country speak loudly and it’s now a matter of negotiating.’’
Former Alliance Party list MP Willie Jackson, returns to Parliament after a 15 year hiatus, thanks to being placed at 22 on Labour’s list.
Jackson, who masterminded a clean sweep of the Maori electorate seats for Labour, thinks he’ll be sitting on the government benches when Parliament resumes.
‘‘We’ll see what happens in the next couple of weeks but I’m counting on us being in government,’’ he says.
‘‘I think Winston will come with us. He was a great coalition partner for Helen Clark and he is sick of this government too. I’m hoping we go up 1 or 2 per cent and I’m hoping Winston does the right thing and comes with us.’’
Jackson also paid tribute to the Maori Party and believes their demise is more to do with their coalition partner being National, than any mis-step by the party.
‘‘They must be saluted for the great contribution they have made for our people,’’ he says.
‘‘The problem they had was their association with National. No matter what they said they were tainted, as we currently have the worst statistics in our history in terms of housing, youth suicide, health and unemployment.’’