National retains Waikato electorate
When first-time MP Tim van de Molen writes his maiden speech, talking up Waikato as a regional leader will figure highly in the words he’ll delivery to parliament.
‘‘My passion is the primary sector, that’s my background and a focus for me. The Waikato is going through a period of growth and well poised to take advantage of that growth. I’m keen to make sure we can capitalise on that growth.’’
The 2013 young farmer of the year was the clear winner of the Waikato electorate following results from Saturday’s general election.
He recorded a majority of 13,933 votes over his nearest rival, Labour party’s Brooke Loader.
‘‘We had a lot of positive feedback during the campaign. We spent a lot of time trying to understand what was important to people and I think that reflected in the results.
‘‘It was great to get a clear mandate from the electorate.’’
Van de Molen will be in Wellington this week, working through the induction process for new MPs.
During his first term van de Molen is determined to push broadband in rural areas and the proposed Waikato Medical school to train rural GPs.
He has worked in farming, banking, the army, tourism and for St John ambulance and is confident he will bring diversity to the position.
The 34 year old took over from National’s Lindsay Tisch who entered parliament in 1999 and announced his retirement in 2016.
First time Greens Waikato candidate Philippa Stevenson said she learnt a lot during the campaign before securing 1636 of the votes.
Stevenson hoped the party’s aims of clean rivers, tackling climate change and poverty will be taken into account moving forward.
‘‘In this limbo time that we’ve got now, I desperately want us to be in Government so we can get some action on things.’’
For the Waikato, resilience and sustainability are two things that should be prioritised, she said.
‘‘It cuts across things like housing, standard of life for people which I think across the board needs to be raised particularly in hard hit areas.’’
Taking up the challenge for the first time as well was Stu Husband who polled 3246 votes for NZ First.
To gain that much support personally was ‘‘spectacular’’ for the Waikato regional councillor and he was happy with how he ran campaign, with campaign manager Gavin Dawson.
Despite ‘‘sadly’’ not having a Waikato representative this time round, he’s determined to give it another go.
‘‘I was really happy at the end because I turned quite a few farmers views in the Waikato and had their support which was sort of shown by the signs in a lot of paddocks.
‘‘It was quite a good feeling to know they had a gutsful of the way we’re heading and wanted a change.’’
Coming in second to van de Molen was Labour candidate Brooke Loader who ran for the first time.
Loader said compared to the last few elections, she was also happy to gain 7764 of the votes.
‘‘In terms of my campaign, myself and my team were working very hard right until the end, we were spending countless hours door knocking, phone calling et cetera and very happy with the turnout.’’
Loader said the experience ‘‘solidified’’ her political stance and hoped to be back on the campaign trail come next election.
Tim van de Molen, centre, celebrates winning the Waikato electorate with family and friends on election night.