Election 2020: Cantabrians react to Labour’s landslide victory

Many Christchurch voters have welcomed Labour’s landslide election victory and those who didn’t vote red expected the result.

Some longstanding Ilam voters were also not surprised to see Gerry Brownlee lose his Ilam electorate seat for the first time since 1996. It was instead taken by Labour’s Sarah Pallett.

Tattooist Scott Hawthorne, 40, voted Labour and said he hoped the party would implement the Green Party’s proposed Rangiora to Ashburton rail service. “I think it’s the way to open up the central city again … you can all of a sudden afford a block of land in Rakaia, get on the train and come to work every day.”

First-time voter and student Ella Heselwood​, 19, said she voted National and wasn’t happy about the outcome. “My mum owns 10 businesses, so [National] benefits her, my family, and a lot of other people I know.”

The Labour leader said Labour’s landslide victory in the election meant they had a mandate to crack on with forming the next government.

Steve Quick​, 54, who works as a purchasing officer and has lived in Ilam for 15 years, gave his electorate vote to Brownlee in 2017, but this time backed Labour.

“I think with the earthquakes and everything that’s gone on here, I don’t think he’s done enough for the area really, that’s what we feel anyway.”

Robert Janek​, a 63-year-old who works at KiwiRail and has lived in Ilam for 25 years, said it was time for a change. “I’ve been fighting 10 years for my EQC and I say Gerry did nothing for me,” he said.

Some of Labour’s popularity in Ilam could be put down to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Student Greer Alsop​, 26, and retired grape grower Julian Smith​, 62, both live in Ilam and gave their two votes to Labour because of Ardern’s leadership.

However, Melisa Brakel, a stay-at-home mum of four originally from France, said she was surprised and “really gutted” about Brownlee’s loss. She thought he was doing a good job. “He was definitely a man for the people.”

Labour was expected to win, but not everyone anticipated the party getting enough seats to govern alone.

“She [Ardern] has put in a good campaign and National has had a lot of problems,” Dawn Armour​, 56, said. Regardless, she gave her vote to ACT due to their “forward-thinking” policies. She runs a small massage therapy business.

Truck driver Cory Sayers, 25,​ gave both of his votes to Labour. “Labour’s for the people, National isn’t,” he said.

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