Thursday, April 25, 2024

National set to govern as Luxon delivers political miracle

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National Party leader and Botany MP Christopher Luxon, centre, was joined by his wife Amanda and their children William and Olivia and a large group of jubilant supporters at their campaign finale in Highbrook on October 13. Times photo Wayne Martin

Christopher Luxon will become New Zealand’s next prime minister after pulling off a stunning defeat of the Labour Party just three years after he entered Parliament.

The National Party leader and Botany MP entered politics in 2020 after a successful business career including as chief executive of national carrier Air New Zealand.

He took over as National’s leader from Judith Collins in November, 2021.

Collins led the party to a disastrous result at the 2020 general election.

It received just 25.58 per cent of the party vote nationwide to Labour’s 50 per cent.

That changed this year, with National earning 39 per cent of the party vote to Labour’s 27 per cent, putting National in position to form the next Government.

National won 45 electorate seats around the country to Labour’s 17.

For Luxon to have led his party back from a massive defeat to victory just three years later is a stunning political turnaround.

In the Botany electorate, he received 19,973 candidate votes, 13,656 ahead of runner-up, the Labour Party’s Kharag Singh, who earned 6,317 votes.

ACT Party candidate Bo Burns finished third with 1616 votes.

New Zealand Loyal candidate John Armstrong was fourth with 491 votes while the Animal Justice Party’s Robert McNeil was fifth with 334 and the New Conservatives Dieuwe De Boer was sixth on 223 votes.

National Party leader Christopher Luxon, centre, is greeted by Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown, right. Times photo Wayne Martin

Luxon, 53, who worked as a paperboy for Times Newspapers during his childhood in Howick, ended his campaign for the Beehive in the local community on October 13, the day preceding election day.

He was joined by his wife Amanda and their children William and Olivia, fellow National MPs including Simeon Brown, Erica Stanford, Simon Watts, and Tama Potaka, as well as more than 100 party faithful at a function at The ‘Brook Bar and Kitchen in Highbrook.

A buoyant Luxon and his family arrived at the venue on the party’s large campaign bus, on which he’s travelled around the country during the campaign.

They walked through a guard of honour toward the venue’s entrance lined with sign-waving supporters dressed in blue and loudly chanting National’s campaign slogan, “Back on track! Back on track!”.

Christopher Luxon, centre, greets supporters while arriving at The ‘Brook Bar and Kitchen in Highbrook. Times photo Wayne Martin

Luxon made his way inside The ‘Brook and delivered a speech in which he thanked the party’s local volunteers for their hard work.

“You’ve been out there in the rain, doing human hoardings, delivering leaflets, you’ve been putting the hoardings up and putting them back up when they’ve been knocked down, you’ve gone out and made phone calls for me and done so much more.

“I want to say to all of our team here in Botany and all the supporters and volunteers, thank you so, so much for what you’ve been doing for me while I’ve been so busy across the country.”

He said National needed to win the general election for the people who are struggling with their mortgage payments or to put food on the table, and those who can’t afford to buy fuel or pay their rent.

“We need to win it for the people who are working so damn hard and still can’t get ahead in this country.

“We need to win it for our farmers, we need to win it for all those victims of crime because we need serious consequences for offending, we need to win it for all those parents who are worried about what kind of education their kids are going to get, we need to win it for all the people who want access to a healthcare system when they need those services.

“My message to all New Zealanders is if that is you, you need change.

“Change is coming in the form of a National-led Government.

“We need a Government that governs for all New Zealanders.

“We’re going to bring this country together, we are going to unite, we are going to rebuild our economy, lower the cost of living, restore law and order, and we’re going to make sure we deliver better health and education so people have a better future ahead of them.

“We’re going to do that on behalf of all New Zealanders.”

Following the election, Luxon will travel to Wellington to begin the process of forming a Government.

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