McAnulty still hasn’t achieved his ul­ti­mate goal

Wairarapa News - - FRONT PAGE - PIERS FULLER

‘‘It was al­ways a three elec­tion strat­egy and I knew I had age onmy side, but I knew I had to be pa­tient’’

You’ve got to hand it to Labour’s youngest mem­ber of cau­cus: he knows how to play the long game.

With the fi­nal elec­tion tally con­firmed on Satur­day, num­ber 38 on the Labour Party list Kieran McAnulty was con­firmed as an MP.

Still at the ten­der po­lit­i­cal age of 32, this is McAnulty’s fourth elec­tion cam­paign with Labour and he set his sights on Par­lia­ment six years ago, though he still hasn’t achieved his ul­ti­mate goal.

He dearly wants to wrest the Wairarapa seat off Na­tional’s in­cum­bent Alas­tair Scott.

McAnulty made in­roads on that goal by re­duc­ing Scott’s ma­jor­ity by al­most 4000 votes, but a strong cam­paign by NZ First’s Carter­ton-based deputy leader Ron Mark made it a slim prospect of the elec­torate re­main­ing any­thing but blue.

The young Labour MP seems to have a nat­u­ral flair for pol­i­tics.

He is as com­fort­able talk­ing to a group of Welling­ton busi­ness types about eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment as he is hav­ing a chat with the oldies in the Probus Club.

But it is prob­a­bly his cal­cu­lat­ing mind that his ri­vals should fear the most. McAnulty knows the num­bers and he is a stu­dent of pol­i­tics.

He ad­mits that af­ter he has been down at the clu­b­rooms talk­ing rugby with his old school mates, he’ll stay up all night watch­ing po­lit­i­cal ac­tion in the US and Bri­tain.

He had po­lit­i­cally-minded grand­par­ents on both sides of the spec­trum, but it was his fa­ther’s fa­ther whose ad­vice res­onated most deeply.

‘‘I re­mem­ber him say­ing what his fa­ther had told him that ‘when the work­ing man is do­ing well, the coun­try does well’ and that made sense to me,’’ McAnulty said.

He’s al­ways been in­ter­ested in pol­i­tics. He re­mem­bers de­clin­ing an in­vi­ta­tion to the Sol­way Col­lege ball as a teenager be­cause he wanted to watch the elec­tion.

A former TAB book­maker cov­er­ing the racing in­dus­try, his lat­est role has been as an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment ad­vi­sor for MDC.

He re­signed from that job the mo­ment he got the con­fir­ma­tion of his MP sta­tus. He MC’s the an­nual Golden Shears, was on Wings Over Wairarapa and Chanel Col­lege’s boards.

In the run-up to the 2011 elec­tion McAnulty was asked to stand for Labour in Wairarapa but de­clined be­cause he didn’t be­lieve he was ready. Up­per Hutt lawyer Michael Bott stood and lost.

McAnulty won the se­lec­tion for the 2014 cam­paign with a long term plan of be­ing elected to the seat within three terms.

‘‘It was al­ways a three elec­tion strat­egy and I knew I had age on my side, but I knew I had to be pa­tient,’’ he said.

He ad­mits it’s cheesy, but he said his mo­ti­va­tion has al­ways been to make a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence for Wairarapa.

Whether he is able to do that in any mean­ing­ful way this term may ul­ti­mately de­pend on the party - or par­ties - New Zealand First de­cides to form a coali­tion with.

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