Thank you Port Waikato!

A massive and heartfelt thank you to those who voted in the Port Waikato by-election. Of the 18,000-plus people who voted, over 14,000 voted for me, which I find hugely humbling.

We were very concerned that people wouldn’t turn out again to vote so soon after the General Election, but people did, and I am very honoured to be re-elected.

Full credit goes to my team who ran an excellent campaign, which saw over 200 hoardings erected across the electorate, plus door knocking, pamphlet drops, and ads on social media. I could not have done it without them, and I am immensely grateful for their hard work and support.

I was also gratified to have the support of other National MPs and numerous volunteers who travelled from across the upper North Island to bolster the campaign.

However, the campaign is just the icing on the cake. Being an electorate MP means putting in the hard work in the years leading up to an election to earn people’s support. It means being aware of local issues, helping people with their problems, being accessible and willing to engage with locals about local matters. That’s how you win an election.

New Zealand’s 54th Parliament was formally opened in the first week of December with two ceremonies – the Commission Opening on Tuesday followed by the State Opening on Wednesday. The Commission Opening was the first time members of Parliament who were elected in the General Election on 14 October met as the 54th Parliament. All MPs make either the Oath or Affirmation of Allegiance to His Majesty King Charles III. Both are very formal occasions and a reminder of the rich history of our Parliamentary system.

Between the general election and the by-election, I became a List MP based in the Port Waikato electorate, so it was with relief on 13 December when I was able to resign as a List MP and officially become the MP for Port Waikato. The by-election was very unusual and meant a special Writ had to be issued by the Governor-General to appoint me as the local MP.

It is great to be back!