Na­tional re­tains Waikato elec­torate

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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.

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