National’s Rangitata candidate Megan Hands, left, and her campaign chairwoman Alison Driscoll follow results on election night in Timaru.
National’s Rangitata campaign chairwoman Alison Driscoll pulled no punches after the party’s disastrous general election showing.
As it became clear that Jo Luxton was riding the Labour wave of success and turning National’s 6331 majority in Rangitata from 2017 into a 3484 vote win on Saturday night, Driscoll admitted the result was “beyond belief” in a speech at the party’s function in Timaru’s Landing Services Building.
Driscoll only had praise for the work of their Rangitata candidate Megan Hands, a late replacement after the resignation of Andrew Falloon in July, saying “we’ve got a ripper” and that “she’s been an absolute pleasure to work with and I’m just absolutely gutted.”
“I know this party will come back bigger and better.
“We’ve taken a hiding tonight and there’s a lot of people out there who really need to think long and hard about what they’ve done over the last two weeks because it’s our people that have f***d us up. I’m sorry – it is our people that have done this.
“We really, really need for them to realise that and come back home
“I think personally, and don’t mean to be negative, but in some ways the party needed a kick up the pants”.
* New Zealand stands together as the world burns
* Election 2020: Labour is in, but will the special votes change some things?
* Election 2020: Rangitata ‘has needed Labour for so long’, newly-elected MP says
Driscoll said they needed to “go away and have a long hard think about how much we stick to those things that we believe in, how much it means to us, how much people need to get out of their living rooms and get on the street and make this happen”.
“We’ve been too lucky for too long. I think we grossly underestimated (Labour leader Jacinda) Ardern for all she’s got.
“I think we grossly underestimated the fact of how much the media and the Labour Party have completely dumbed down politics in this country in the last three years.
“It’s become a popularity contest instead of a contest of ideas and we need to get that back so badly.
“I hate to think what we are going to go through in the next three years before we get that chance again.
“So we’ve just got to work it out and we’ve got to get our friends and our neighbours who feel like we do, even though they might have ticked the wrong box this time, we’ve got to get them back so that’s our challenge.”