21 Aug 2017

Ōhāriu on Dunne: 'He's been a big stalwart'

6:22 pm on 21 August 2017

Peter Dunne's popularity might have been falling in the polls, but Ōhāriu residents say they are saddened and surprised to see him bow out.

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Peter Dunne is stepping down after 33 years in Parliament. Photo: RNZ/Rebekah Parsons-King

Dunne has been the MP for the Wellington electorate of Ōhāriu since 1984.

Johnsonville resident Helen was saddened by the announcement.

"It's a little disappointing, I think. I haven't got my head around it. He's been a big stalwart in Ōhāriu for many many years ... it is a little bit sad."

She had voted for Dunne previously and said her next vote was a no-brainer.

"I'm a National person."

Pat O'Neill is a friend of Labour candidate Greg O'Connor, who is running in the Ōhāriu electorate.

Mr O'Neill said it was the right time for Dunne to go.

Ōhāriu resident Pat O'Neill at Johnsonville's mall.

Pat O'Neill at Johnsonville's mall. Photo: RNZ / Jacob McSweeny

"He might have done his time, to be very honest. I'm surprised that he's resigned, but I think he might struggle to get there anyhow.

"Between Peter Dunne and Greg O'Connor, they had most of the vote didn't they?"

Manu Te Awa lived in the electorate for 13 years before moving to the South Island. He was in Johnsonville visiting family and said change was in the air for Ōhāriu.

"He's done a great job while he's been in. Pretty sad for the local area that he's resigned.

"There's going to be one team that's going to be way out in front now if he's resigned ... I think that's Jacinda's team just quietly."

Resident Nicola Rankin said Dunne had a genuine interest in his electorate.

"Politically he's not in my camp, I have to say. But I've been a part of a co-working space here that he's come along to ... he was obviously interested in Johnsonville happenings, so I don't know."

Retail store manager Bonnie Taylor said she was surprised Dunne would not stay and fight.

"It's not all over until the fat lady sings isn't it?

"Just because Greg O'Connor might have been a bit of a threat ... he hasn't won it yet. It's made the run a lot easier for him hasn't it?"

She said Mr Dunne should have done more, earlier on, to regulate synthetic drugs.

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