Party at Kieran McAnulty's: New MP dedicates victory to his gran

Labour’s Kieran McAnulty has been given the right to rule Wairarapa as its electorate MP, with Central Hawke’s Bay and Tararua’s blessing as well.

McAnulty took 19,519 votes with National’s candidate Mike Butterick gaining 14,108. Behind National in 2017 by more than 2000 votes, on Saturday McAnulty won by more than 5000 votes.

Ron Mark came in third with 2884 votes, next was Green candidate Celia Wade-Brown on 993 then overseas based Act’s Roger Greenslade at 910, New Conservatives’ Warren Butterworth 502, Advance’s Nigel Gray 356 and Independent Aileen Haeata 72.

The last time Wairarapa swung left was when Georgina Beyer held the seat from 1999 to 2005, but electorate boundaries have since extended north to include the likes of Dannevirke, Waipukurau and even Waipawa.

Wairarapa Labour held a thronging party at the Wairarapa-Bush rugby clubrooms on Saturday night.

McAnulty was with his proud parents Marie and Mike McAnulty and about 100 volunteers delighted with him and the party.

It was a result they had been working towards for 15 years.

But in McAnulty’s speech, he said that the death of his beloved grandmother Betty McAnulty, 85, two weeks ago was a difficult blow during the campaign.

“I would do anything to have her here to see my win tonight, I have wanted this for a long time for my hometown and for my friends and family and supporters,” McAnulty said.

“To my parents Marie and Mike, thank you for your love and support, it has been wonderful to know you are there for me, I have wanted this job since I was a boy.

“Thank you very much.”

He never thought Labour would be in the position to win the candidate vote and party vote as well but he did soak up the support on the trail and felt things could be turning towards that.

“I am grateful and thankful for the level of trust in me to represent the community,” he said.

“There has not been a Wairarapa MP with the level of influence I can bring to government for a long time. I am determined to deliver for the region.”

He thanked his delighted supporters for the hard work done and the 11,000 contacts by phone or on the streets to get the more than 5000 majority.

In particular, he thanked his campaign manager Callum Penley. After the speech outside, Penley took a call from his mother in Australia and tears started flowing.

He can’t be with her but they had the victorious moment over the phone.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry for crying, I miss my mum and want to share this victory with her,” Penley said.

“It is just overwhelming what we have done, it is fantastic.”

Acknowledging the other major candidates McAnulty said Butterick should be proud of what he did in a short campaign and pledged to work with him. He said outgoing NZ First MP (the party not making it back to Parliament) Ron Mark should also be “incredibly proud” of his career and his work as defence minister and wished him all the best.

After these words, McAnulty let loose, had a dance with his mum and soaked up the cool air on the deck.

National candidate Butterick congratulated McAnulty and later turned up to the Labour event.

Wairarapa’s Green Party candidate Wade-Brown also came to the party with her supporters.

The two hugged and then those gathered watched the broadcast of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern delivering her speech at the Auckland Town Hall.

After this, the music pumped up again, the red dance floor lights set the mood, drinks flowed, and the long-awaited party took off.

This post first appeared on Here