Election results 2020: Chris Lynch – Gerry Brownlee defeat one of biggest upsets for National party

New Zealand|Politics

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OPINION:

Greater Christchurch has overwhelmingly voted for a Labour government, crushing all of National’s safe seats.

High-profile MP Gerry Brownlee lost his Ilam seat to Labour’s Sarah Pallett. To make matters worse for National’s deputy leader, Pallett’s had no media profile in Christchurch.

Brownlee held Ilam for more than two decades, making this result one of the biggest upsets of the night for the shattered National party.

Even more humiliating, Brownlee was the party’s campaign manager. He told reporters he could have spent more time in his electorate but had “no regrets”.

In 2017, National held the party vote by a large majority, but this time around it went red – a remarkable result for an electorate often thought of as untouchable.

It was a nail-biting finish for National’s Matt Doocey. He’ll be breathing a sigh of relief. Throughout the night his poll position bounced from first to second with just a hundred votes in it. He may have won Waimakariri, but the party vote switched to Labour.

National Party’s Nicola Grigg won Selwyn. She replaces Amy Adams, who retired from politics at this election. But again, Labour took the party vote off National.

Poto Williams easily won Christchurch East. Her profile was boosted by her support for women’s issues and her advocacy for grassroots problems including ongoing flooding on the east. Williams’ Greater Christchurch Regeneration portfolio has seen her announce significant milestones for the city including Christchurch Cathedral updates to government support for the film industry. She’s also been able to hold her own while debating Brownlee on the Friday Political Panel on Newstalk ZB.

As expected, Megan Woods won Wigram by a landslide. While her ministerial portfolios significantly enhanced her profile particularly in recent month as Labour’s “Mrs Fix it”, she made a point of making herself easily available to locals. Her work ethic has been commended by the left and right.

Despite his bizarre public call to increase council rates, Christchurch Central MP Duncan Webb kept his seat by a landslide. He’s well-liked for his advocacy on insurance issues following the quakes.

Some political commentators thought councillor and National candidate Catherine Chu could win Banks Peninsula given favourable boundary changes, but the night went to Labour’s Tracey McLellan, who is the party’s senior vice-president and organiser with the NZ Nurses Organisation. She’s got big shoes to fill following the retirement of long-serving MP Ruth Dyson. Her son is Jake is a Christchurch city councillor. The party vote overwhelming went red, taking it off National.

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