Wood's win sends a message over 'toxic' campaign

9:00 am on 4 December 2016

Labour's Michael Wood says he feels vindicated by his landslide win in yesterday's Mt Roskill by-election after what he calls some negative, toxic campaigning.

Labour candidate Michael Wood (right) on the campaign trail with leader Andrew Little.

Labour candidate Michael Wood (right) on the campaign trail with leader Andrew Little. Photo: Supplied / Labour Party

Mr Wood won the Mt Roskill seat with more than 11,000 votes, taking nearly two-thirds of the votes cast and more than doubling the count of his nearest rival, National's Parmjeet Parmar.

He said his winning margin in yesterday's by-election was well above expectations, putting it down to the campaign he and his supporters had run.

"I think it's the fact that we ran a long, hard campaign, we started six months ago, we didn't take anything for granted.

"And we focused really hard on the things that matter to people - we didn't get distracted - decent affordable housing, fixing transport and building a safer community."

But Mr Wood told Sunday Morning there was also a darker side to the race.

"There was a fairly negative sort of toxic campaign that came from outside of Mt Roskill, and I think people gave a bit of a message about that as well as a few other things last night. I'm not getting too hung up on that but [the] result's a good vindication, shall we say."

Voter turnout was just under 40 percent, half what it was at the last general election.

Labour leader Andrew Little said National had thought it could win the seat and had been proved wrong.

Mr Wood's victory would hurt the National Party, he said.

"By-elections always have a lower voter turnout, so actually if you look at the margins, you look at the percentages, actually Parmjeet Parmar's vote went down.

"This is a stunning result in terms of the majority achieved with or without a low turnout."

He said Labour had a lot of hard work to do heading into election year, but this win would give it a boost.

Dr Parmar, who won about 4500 votes, said that despite the loss she would keep championing the people of the electorate.

"I think everything went really well, we got a great opport to talk to Mt Roskill families and businesses, and I loved going out and talking about the issues that matter to them.

"And yeah, I will continue working hard for Mt Roskill.

"Mt Roskill is a great place and I'm very very passionate about Mt Roskill families and businesses. And this by-election gave us the opportunity to be in front of people again, to talk about local issues that matter to our people here."

Mr Wood said he would be getting straight to work, and was looking forward to meeting his caucus colleagues next week.

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