Steve Joyce blames the voters for the result

It was a crushing defeat for National, and a bitter pill for its candidate, Mark Osborne, who says he’ll be keeping an eye on Mr Peters, “making sure the mister Peters delivers on his many promises that he’s made to Northlanders. I’m not quite sure how he’s going to do that, four-hundred-odd million dollars’ worth.”

Osborne says there wasn’t any more he or his team could’ve done in their campaign.

National’s campaign director Steven Joyce says it’s clear a lot of voters weren’t happy.

“Our job is to make sure that we earn the right to represent Northland again, and seek to do that in two-and-a-half years’ time.”

Joyce believes Mr Peters got ahead in the race early, and National couldn’t reel him in.

“He ran a good campaign, he got out in front and stayed there and stayed there. We were always playing catch-up and we did catch-up some but not enough.”

“Of course Labour and the Greens swung in behind him and that was the end of that.”

Steve’s claim to fame is that the 13,321 vote swing against National wasn’t as bad as it looked in the first place, as “[National]?did catch-up some but not enough”.

Just dreadful.

In the mean time, the sharks are smelling blood in the water ?

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei believes the result is proof that the tide has turned on an increasingly out of touch Government, and deeply embarrassing given Northland was a traditionally safe seat.

“The attempt by National to buy this by-election with their bridges, their money for bridges, while refusing to feed the hundreds and hundreds of hungry kids in Northland just proves how out of touch they were,” she said.

Labour leader Andrew Little isn’t pulling punches in his assessment of National’s loss, saying the Government has been sent a strong message.

“It’s a pretty humiliating defeat for the National Party. They’ve held that seat for around about seventy years, they’ve had very strong majorities in it and within six months they’ve gone from a majority of over nine thousand, to a loss of over four thousand.”

And while Mr Peters has 31 years as an MP, Little maintains he doesn’t actually know him very well.

“I haven’t had a great deal of contact with Winston since I’ve become leader of the Labour Party. We’ve had about two conversations with him exchanging pleasantries.”

“We are quite keen to catch up and talk and we’ll be doing that next week.”

The most damaging result of this by-election is that a totally dispirited and mentally defeated opposition have now been given hope. ?Hope that National is vulnerable, and enough outward focus to put their own differences aside and work towards a common goal.

You have to hand it to Winston – he’s managed do by himself what scores of people, millions of dollars, crime, commissions of inquiry and strong media bias were unable to do: ?expose National’s Achilles heel.


– Annabel Reid, Dylan Moran, Barry Soper, Newstalk ZB