Labour’s Jo Luxton has won the Rangitata seat from National with a majority of more than 3000 votes.
Jo Luxton is feeling “pretty damn good,” the day after winning the Rangitata electorate for Labour in a surprise result.
She told Stuff a feeling of responsibility “will certainly come as the realisation sinks in more but I’m actually really looking forward to the challenge” she said on Sunday.
Luxton, who lost to disgraced former Rangitata MP Andrew Falloon in 2017 by a massive 6331 votes, secured an election night total of 18,876 while National candidate Megan Hands finished second with 15,392.
Luxton, who had been a list-MP since 2017, becomes the electorate’s first Labour MP since it was established in 2008. Hands became the National Party’s candidate after Falloon’s shock resignation in August. Jo Goodhew was Rangitata MP from 2008 to 2014, before Falloon was elected in 2017.
On Saturday night Luxton told her cheering supporters at a function in Timaru that the Rangitata electorate “has needed Labour for so long”.
Talking to Stuff on Sunday, Luxton said that National had neglected the electorate.
“Prior to Labour coming in we didn’t see a lot happening with regard to things like infrastructure within our schooling system. We haven’t seen people train in the different trades and industries. We’ve seen a huge reliance on overseas workers for our primary sectors. We obviously still need people from overseas, but we need to retrain our New Zealanders as well.”
“I’m going to take some time to relax today, head to Wellington tomorrow. I’m taking next weekend off to have some time with my family. And then I guess into it.”
Labour’s Jo Luxton, with husband Matt, and supporters at Sopheze On The Bay, celebrate her win in the Rangitata electorate on Saturday night.
Luxton said the first thing she wants to do is go out to the community and listen to what their problems are.
“I don’t think it’s up to me to decide what’s best for the electorate, I think it’s really important to hear from the people within the electorate first.”
During her speech on Saturday night, Luxton said she was “so excited” for what lay ahead, telling the crowd gathered at her election party “we’ve done it, we’ve done it”.
“We have actually done it. It is amazing, it is so amazing. I can be officially excited now. It is unexpected, it is amazing, and I am so grateful.”
At her campaign event the Ashburton branch of the Labour Party presented Luxton a framed photo of Horace Edgar Herring and herself. Herring was the last Labour MP to represent Ashburton from 1935-38, in what was then the Mid-Canterbury electorate.
Newly-elected Rangitata MP Jo Luxton was presented with a framed photo of Horace Edgar Herring and herself. Herring was the last Labour MP to represent Ashburton from 1935-38, in what was then the Mid-Canterbury electorate.
Luxton was “really looking forward” to representing the electorate as its MP.
“First and foremost, I am so proud of my team. I’ve got the most amazing team behind me, and they have worked so hard.
“I’m so thankful for all those who voted for me, that put their faith in me and I hope I do them really proud.”
Luxton said the win would change her role as an MP as she moved from working as a list MP to Rangitata MP.
“There is a lot more resourcing that goes with being an MP. As a list MP you don’t get that much resourcing compared to an elected MP … that will be really great to be able to service the electorate better.”
Rangitata Labour candidate Jo Luxton and granddaughter Lyric Luxton, 2, and daughter-in-law Amelia James at her election night party at Sopheze On The Bay.
Luxton said she expected to be a lot busier working as an electorate MP once she got her head around the win.
Reflecting on the campaign, Luxton said she was tired.
“It’s been tiring, it’s been stressful.”
She credited her team with getting her across the line.
Among the 80 to 100 people to join Luxton’s election party at Sopheze at the Bay was her daughter, Kelsey Hart, video calling from Scotland.
Jo Luxton speaks to daughter Kelsey Hart, in Scotland.
Hands meanwhile gathered with about 40 people at the Landing Services Building in Timaru to watch the election results come in.
Hands said she still believed in the values of the National Party and she would be an MP one day, and ”be a strong voice”.
She said she had used her 10 weeks of campaigning efficiently, with a huge amount of effort.
“There has been a nationwide swing tonight,” she said.
Rangitata National candidate Megan Hands, partner Simon Morse and son Jack, 15 months, at her election party at the Landing Service Building.
Hands offered her congratulations to Luxton on Saturday night and said the new MP “acknowledged our campaign and said we fought a damn hard campaign in the 10 weeks that we had.
“We are feeling this all over the country and I know it’s disappointing but I have been a member of this party for 12 years.
“The National Party values are not going anywhere and I’m not going anywhere either.”
Behind Luxton and Hands were Hamish Hutton (ACT) a distant third on 1220, follow by New Conservative’s Lachie Ashton 968, Gerrie Lightenberg (Greens) 629, Grant William Kelynack (Outdoors) 270, Aroha Maru (Advance NZ) 219, Brannon Favel (Social Credit) 91, James Rae (NAP) 56.
Luxton led from the outset. When 30 per cent of the votes had been counted, she said she was happy she had already garnered more votes than the total of 13,663 she received in 2017.