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Showing rookies the ropes

Kieran McAnulty with his parents Marie and Mike McAnulty. PHOTO/KAREN COLTMAN

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No longer a parliamentary newbie, McAnulty showed throngs of new entrant Labour MPs around the corridors of power on Monday.

At the weekend, Labour secured the most votes any party has achieved under MMP.

This landmark victory gave it 64 seats in Parliament.

Subsequently, 22 new Labour MPs have been welcomed to Parliament.

In Wellington, he also hosted some school children from St Mary’s School in Carterton who were visiting Parliament for the day, which he said he thoroughly enjoyed.

After a meeting with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, he led the Wairarapa pupils into the debating chamber.

He said Monday was a “wonderful day for him and his party”.

“I am no longer the blue-eyed, bushy tailed newbie and it feels good,” he said.

He is expecting to increase his staff and resources support four-fold and has ideas about how to get around the whole electorate to hold MP clinics regularly.

“I reckon it would work to get a mobile vehicle office that I can park up in the smaller towns and hold clinics in,” McAnulty said.

“The feedback I had over the last three years was that people liked that I was accessible. I clear my own emails and correspondence as much as I can.”

He is confident that going back and forth to Wellington from Wairarapa won’t burn him out because he is used to it. Parliamentary sitting days are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, so he is usually in the electorate on the other days.

Congratulating McAnulty on his win, Georgina Beyer, the last Labour MP to win the seat in 1999 and again in 2002, said she could not be more pleased for him. She said there was a big swing to Labour in 1999 when Helen Clark became prime minister, but Beyer said this landslide was even bigger.

“It is wonderful for Wairarapa to have a representative with influence as part of the re-elected Labour government,” Beyer said.

“Let’s face it, Wairarapa hasn’t had an MP of influence for 15 years, I am happy for the community,” she said.

Beyer’s win in 1999 was by a margin of 3033 over National and this doubled to 6372 when she was returned in 2002. The party vote for Labour that election was 41 per cent, and for National, 21 per cent.

The National Party vote in 2017 was 48.6 per cent but this time was slashed to 29.9 per cent.

In three years, voters did a complete U-turn.

Labour’s party vote here came in at 47.4 per cent.

“McAnulty has achieved a larger party vote I believe than I did and brought the candidate margin up to nearly where I had it,” Beyer said.

“I am sure he will work hard to hold it and prove the seat is no longer a National stronghold.”

Beyer said the belief that Wairarapa was “blue” could be over because housing affordability in comparison to Wellington was much better and the towns were changing.

She also thought “brand Jacinda” was very strong and made a difference.

She said the four crises Ardern managed in one term were extraordinary: the Christchurch mosque massacre, the White Island explosion and fatalities, the measles outbreak in Samoa, and then working to stop the spread of the covid-19 virus.

“Ardern’s brand has had a huge impact on the party vote and the lacklustre National campaign made it easier for National voters to shift their vote,” she said.

“Even the northern rural towns went red, right out to Tukituki and this I think is because primary industry businesses are looking for stability and leadership,” she said.

But McAnulty is not going to chew the fat and debrief for many more days; he is taking a break.

“It’s been a long campaign and I am looking forward to taking Labour weekend off and this works nicely for me as Labour Day is about everyone taking a break from work,” he said.a shift manager in a car treated the man who was then taken to Wairarapa Hospital with minor injuries.

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