It was all smiles at Louise Upston’s house on Sunday, as she hosted a small gathering of party faithful to celebrate her election victory. Claire Castle went along for the festivities.
After a gruelling interview process, Louise Upston has secured her job in Parliament for another three years. Even though results will not be finalised until October 7 when special votes are in, she has an unassailable lead over her nearest rival in the Taupō electorate, which includes Cambridge.
Ms Upston spent election night in Taupo with partner Hamish Craig, her family and local volunteers, returning to her Cambridge home on Sunday to celebrate the result with supporters here.
Among the 20 guests at Ms Upston’s home on Sunday was Philippa Baker, who said she would have liked an outright majority but the result was still better than having the Labour alternative. “Bill English is a pair of safe hands,” she added.
Those sentiments were shared by others, and Ms Upston credited the support she has received from her electorate crew for her return to Parliament. “You don’t get results like this unless you’ve worked for three years,” she told guests.
Special thanks went to her children and partner Hamish, who she said deserved a break from putting up hoardings around the electorate.
At the latest count, Ms Upston had secured 21,757 electorate votes, while the National Party received 19,136. This appears to indicate that more than 2,500 voters crossed party lines to vote for Ms Upston but gave their party tick to another party. Labour candidate Ala’ Al-Bustanji received 8,763 electorate votes while Labour secured 9,618 party votes, and New Zealand First secured 3,126 party votes without standing a candidate in the electorate.
Ms Upston said voter loyalty might be because when constituents come into her office for help, “it doesn’t matter if they voted for me or not.”
As for the corflute hoardings, which are notoriously difficult to dispose of in an environmentally-friendly way, a Taupo Envirogroup will make some into bug huts and pest traps, while the rest might have to go into the garage for Hamish and the team to put up next time.