Upston to lead again
SUNDAY morning saw a victorious Louise Upston doing what she normally does - bouncing several balls with her usual high levels of energy.
Upston, the re-elected Taupo MP and senior government whip, followed a 7.45am visit to her office to email the new National MPs, with a visit to Karapiro School to attend her daughter’s final year netball prizegiving.
Then it was back home to unpack electioneering boxes and prepare for an afternoon party she was hosting for around 50 South Waikato and Cambridge volunteers who had helped with the campaign.
"There’s no resting up going on here, " she laughed.
By Sunday lunchtime, Upston had secured a majority of 13,783 votes.
While there was much relief at her own - and the party’s - solid victory, Upston did admit to a few nerves on Saturday night.
"I went into it thinking it was going to be very tight. I was as surprised as everyone else when those numbers came through.’’
Some of that doubt was generated by her concerns she had not been able to put in the hours on the ground that she might have otherwise.
Upston was appointed a junior whip immediately after the 2011 election, and was soon promoted to the senior role. It has meant sending less time in her communities.
"That was challenging, but the numbers didn’t reflect that. Overall, it is very affirming."
She alluded to several campaign standouts. One was the response from a prisoner undergoing horticultural training through a government partnership programme - his child was also involved in planting a garden at school.
"He was adamant that I pass on his thanks to John Key for providing those opportunities."
Provisional results from Saturday saw National get 48.1 percent of the party vote, which translates to 61 seats in Parliament - enough to govern alone. It is the first time under the current MMP system this has been the case.
Meanwhile Maori voters showed faith in Labour with the losing party clawing back five of six Maori seats including Te Tai Hauauru. New comer Adrian Rurawhe picked up Tamaki Makaurau and Te Tai Hauauru.