Kieran McAnulty looks set to remain in Parliament as a list MP after National’s Mike Butterick unseated him in the Wairarapa electorate on Saturday night.
McAnulty was appointed Minister of Local Government in February.
At number 16 on the Labour Party list, McAnulty said on Sunday morning that, subject to final confirmation of numbers after special votes, “It looks like I will remain an MP.”
McAnulty said he had received notification from parliamentary officials that he currently remains an MP, but that will be confirmed next month.
“I am in good spirits. It’s an opportunity to continue to serve the region, which is the reason I got into politics in the first place.”
He said until all the results are in, the makeup of the government is not final.
“There’s a real possibility they [National and ACT] will still require New Zealand First, we just have to wait and see,” he said.
Speaking of the campaign, he didn’t think “there’s anything more we could have done”.
He is also proud of what he and others had done for the region during his time as MP.
McAnulty conceded the Wairarapa race to Butterick in person at about 10pm on Saturday night, and then shared a beer with him.
Addressing the disappointed party faithful at Wairarapa Bush clubrooms afterwards, McAnulty reminded them of their achievements.
“You can all be proud of your efforts,” McAnulty told them.
“It enabled us to bring social housing back to Wairarapa. It enabled us to get the funding we needed to upgrade our rail line. Soon, the region will have double the number of train services to Wellington because we got the funding for new trains.
“We can all be incredibly proud of the last three years and what we have done for this region.”
The mood at the Saturday event had become progressively gloomier as results came in on TV from across New Zealand, with one attendee overheard saying, “I can’t watch this anymore.”
McAnulty also acknowledged the work his local electorate staff have done over the years.
“They have worked very hard and helped so many people with immigration, health, and other things. I want to acknowledge their contribution.”
He said a list MP typically gets only a fraction of the resources of a constituency MP.
“I will use whatever [resources] I have for the benefit of Wairarapa,” he said.
Former Masterton mayor Lyn Patterson was McAnulty’s campaign manager.
“It’s been a privilege for Wairarapa to have you as our MP for the past three years,” she said to McAnulty after he conceded to Butterick on Saturday.
“I know how hard you’ve worked, and I know how hard your team have worked in your offices,” she said.
“I also know the importance of having social housing back in Wairarapa. That was something you set out to do, and you made it happen. I know when I was mayor how important that was, and how important it was to you.
“You have been an absolute top-notch Wairarapa MP.”
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