Hip­kins happy with party vote

Upper Hutt Leader - - FRONT PAGE - COLIN WIL­LIAMS

Sat­is­fied to be elected for a fourth con­sec­u­tive term in Rimu­taka, Chris Hip­kins is also cel­e­brat­ing an im­proved party vote for Labour in the north­ern Welling­ton elec­torate.

‘‘I’m heart­ened by the re­sult,’’ the 39-year-old said. ‘‘Both for the elec­torate, of course, and also very much for our grow­ing the party vote.’’

On the pro­vi­sional results Hip­kins, an MP since 2008, in­creased his Rimu­taka margin when beat­ing Carolyn O’Fal­lon, a first-time Na­tional can­di­date.

With 18,508 votes, Hip­kins is 6838 ahead of O’Fal­lon, up on the 6664 margin he earned three years ear­lier when Lewis Holden chal­lenged for the seat.

‘‘To be hon­est my goal was to grow the party vote,’’ Hip­kins said.

He suc­ceeded with a 9.8 per cent in­crease in Labour’s party vote, to more than 41.9 per cent and well up on Na­tional’s 40.3 per cent. ‘‘We de­liv­ered re­ally well on that.’’

Hip­kins thanked his team of vol­un­teers who worked ‘‘long hours’’, es­pe­cially on the phones and used so­cial me­dia more an­a­lyt­i­cally than in ear­lier cam­paigns. ‘‘I al­ways go to an elec­tion on the ba­sis that it is like the first time and we got out there and did ev­ery­thing we could and worked hard for it.’’

The cam­paign­ing pro­duced no real sur­prises in what Rimu­taka vot­ers iden­ti­fied as the main is­sues.

‘‘It’s trans­port and it’s hous­ing. With hous­ing a lot of peo­ple re­ported the very high rentals they face and ob­vi­ously re­lated to that is the lack of hous­ing op­tions that are avail­able to them.

‘‘I heard about that more than in the past and that’s a real is­sue.’’

On the coun­try’s over­all elec­tion re­sult Hip­kins said it was im­por­tant to recog­nise ‘‘that more peo­ple voted for change than the sta­tus quo’’.

PHOTO: MAARTEN HOLL/STUFF

A happy Chris Hip­kins at the Labour Party’s elec­tion night party at Te Whare­waka.

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