'Clearly ready for a different style of MP': Labour's Sarah Pallett on winning Ilam


A new era has begun for Christchurch’s Ilam electorate after one of the biggest upsets for National on election night.

First-time Labour candidate Sarah Pallett has toppled National’s Gerry Brownlee who had held the seat for 24 years.

Pallett said it was a huge surprise but she is thrilled to bits.

She said the people of Ilam were clearly ready for a different style of MP and she is confident she can be that for them.

Pallett said she will be there for locals regardless of their political affiliation, cultural differences or even what they think of her.

With 100 percent of the vote returned, Brownlee trailed with 30.4 percent of the electorate vote compared to about 43.9 percent for Labour’s Sarah Pallett.

Brownlee, who is also the party’s campaign manager, said mistakes may have been made, and he regrets spreading a conspiracy theory about the government covering up a Covid-19 outbreak in the lead up to the election.

He believes National ran a very good on-the-ground campaign, but the Covid-19 pandemic created a “herding” instinct behind the incumbent government.

The party will hold discussions, to assess what went wrong, Brownlee said.

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