Labour MPs are ‘op­ti­mistic’

Manukau Courier - - OUT & ABOUT - JUSTIN LATIF

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.’’

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