orning!’’ comes a call from the end of the train bridge. ‘‘Hope I didn’t get you out of bed too early.’’
It is 6:25am and National Party MP Chris Bishop has beaten the birds out of bed to pass out leaflets to commuters at Woburn railway station.
As the bleary-eyed commuters trickle into the station, he offers each one a ‘‘good morning’’, and a leaflet emblazoned with his name, face and the slogan ‘‘Working hard for the Hutt’’.
‘‘Working hard’’ might be right. Bishop has been a near ubiquitous presence at events all over Hutt South since the last election.
Part of his campaign strategy is to be everywhere and he has been rotating through Hutt South’s train stations three days a week since February. By covering as much ground as he can, he gets maximum exposure to the electorate and can meet as many people as possible.
This is Bishop’s second campaign for the seat, having been beaten in 2014 by Labour’s Trevor Mallard who has held the seat since its formation in 1996.
He pushed Mallard close in the last election. The number 709 is burnt into the back of his mind - it is the number of votes he lost by in 2014.
‘‘I think I led for about 10 minutes,’’ he laments.
Bishop sits at number 40 on National’s list which puts him in a likely position to keep his job, but he desires to be the Hutt South MP.
‘‘I’d definitely prefer to be an