Hamilton could not escape the drubbing of the National Party across the country caused by Jacinda’s tsunami and the two local National MPs graciously conceded defeat last evening.
Hamilton’s two new electorate MPs who claimed victory are Jamie Strange (East) and Dr Gaurav Sharma (West)-both from Labour party.
They successfully unseated David Bennett and Hamilton Tim Macindoe who were retaining their seats since 2005, and 2008 respectively.
As a result of National party overall score of 35 seats(including list), David Bennett will now be relegated to be National’s List MP from Hamilton East.
In the final count, Dr Sharma secured 16,950 votes against his closest rival Macindoe’s 12,525.
Current List MP (East), Jamie Strange avenged his last defeat from David Bennett by securing 1948 more votes this year his tally of 13,306. Strange, a married father of four, and a former school teacher and church minister, lives in Chartwell.
Labour’s Hamilton West’s Dr Gaurav Sharma works as a General Practitioner in Nawton and lives in Frankton. He studied medicine at the University of Auckland Medical School and had moved to New Zealand from India when he was young. This was his second attempt and had lost by a small margin in the last elections.
Dr Sharma is also the only Indian-origin candidate to be elected to New Zealand Parliament.
When NewsViews asked PM Ardern last week, how optimistic she was that at least one MP (from Labour) would be elected from Hamilton, she had said “I’m optimistic because of the hard work our candidates are doing, so it’s not just about people showing up to say ‘hello’, its about seeing the work they have done consistently.” https://www.newsviews.co.nz/selfie-crazy-fans-turn-up-in-hamilton-to-greet-campaigning-pm/
The city has now conceded both the seats to the labour candidates, thus proving that the crowds of supporters at their election meetings were not there just to say ‘hello’.
At the Hamilton Wanderers Football Club gathering hosted by Hamilton East MP David Bennett, overall atmosphere was not very buoyant when NewsViews visited. Results had just started trickling in and initially Bennett was in the lead while Macindoe trailed.
Overall poor show of National party’s results was clearly a visible strain for Bennett and mood of the supporters was also a little somber.
Later in the evening, both Bennett and Macindoe paid a surprise visit to the Labour party’s hosted event at Melville United to congratulate the new electorate MPs, Strange and Dr Sharma.
Congratulating Jamie Starnage, Bennett said “Well done…and all the best to you, and enjoy your celebration tonight.”
In return, Jamie Strange acknowledged Bennett’s ‘hard work’ and ‘legacy’ in the last 15 years he was the MP.
“You (Bennett) worked really hard to win that seat back in 2005 off Diane … It’s a swing seat and you have held it for 15 years through strong advocacy and a lot of door-knocking.
“You have always worked hard for the electorate, you are incredibly passionate about our city, and there are some key infrastructure projects that will always be part of your legacy,” Jamie Strange said.
Macindoe, though disappointed, went one step ahead of Bennett to acknowledge Dr Sharma’s victory.
He held and raised newly-elected Dr Sharma’s hand and shouted “We have a new MP!”
“Clearly for us it’s hugely disappointing,” Macindoe said. “For you it’s a wonderful moment of celebration.”
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