Defeated Labour Party candidate Andrew Little says the election result shows the tide is still out on his party.
Mr Little lost the New Plymouth seat by 4130 votes to incumbent National MP Jonathan Young.
The seat was the most marginal in the country at the 2008 election, with Mr Young winning by just over 100 votes.
Mr Little, who is a former national secretary of the Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union, will still enter Parliament as a list MP through his No. 15 ranking on Labour's list.
He says the result is disappointing, but he respects the decision.
Mr Little says there is a high degree of support for National overall and that counted against his campaign.
He says he wants to concentrate on workplace health and safety issues at the Pike River mine, where 29 men died in November 2010.
Mr Little says one of the biggest challenges facing the next Parliament is how it responds to the Royal Commission inquiry into the Pike River tragedy and he would like to play a role in shaping the response.