'Historic night': Sea of red sweeps Dunedin

Labour has scored crushing victories in Dunedin and Taieri.

Dr Clark was thrilled to have retained his seat, and that Labour had done so well.

"It’s an absolutely historic night and a very exciting one," he told the ODT.

"I have been involved in six elections now and I’ve never seen anything like it."

Dr Clark said he was grateful Dunedin had forgiven him his trespasses after he stood down from Cabinet after beaching Covid-19 lockdown regulations.

"That is the generosity of the people of Dunedin, and my job is to repay that generosity."

In Dunedin with 100% of the vote counted David Clark (20,806) had almost three times the vote of Michael Woodhouse (7,485). In the party vote, Labour took 55.2% with the Green Party second on 17.9%. 

In Taieri  with 100% of the vote counted Ingrid Leary (22,225) had almost double National candidate Liam Kernaghan (11,593) in Taieri. Labour was on 58.8% and National 21.5%

Dunedin National candidate Michael Woodhouse admitted the tide was "stronger than we expected".

He put it down to Covid-19.

"Our own internal issues have not helped."

Later in the night he said it was too early to say whether he would return to Parliament. He is number 12 on the party list and given National seems set to lose many electorates his position may be safe.

Presumptive Taieri MP Ingrid Leary was not keen to say she had won just yet about 9.30pm , but confidence was high in a packed South Dunedin Labour rooms.

Ms Leary, who only recently moved to Taieri, has held over a hundred street corner meetings to make herself known in the region.

"It’s something we do anyway, but it’s a brilliant way to meet people. This demographic aren’t necessarily on social media and they appreciate the direct voter contact."

Ms Leary has always maintained that retiring MP Clare Curran had left her a safe seat, and so it has proven.

"I had to work really hard to win over the Labour members for the selection," she said.

"The Labour members are staunch Labour, they are stalwarts, they can see through anything that is not authentic.

"That was a big job and I knew if I could win them over then I could win the people of this electorate over."

Earlier there was a festive mood at Labour MP David Clark's party at Petri Dish as loyalists begin to appreciate how large the swing to their party might be.

"I just can’t believe that we’re beating Gerry Brownlee in Ilam," one man said.

A huge cheer went up when the television showed Liz Craig leading early on in Invercargill, but party strategists were turning their heads to a fresh possibility— Labour might win so many electorates some of its list candidates, such as Dunedin’s Rachel Brooking, might not make it to Parliament.

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