Alf was chuffed by the result in the Mana by-election.
Betcha The Boss is chuffed, too.
Hekia Parata has demolished one of Labour’s strongholds in much the same way as Crusher Collins wants to demolish the cars of boy racers, turning the electorate into something much more marginal.
Mana’s new MP – a bloke called Farfoy or something – mustered 10,397 votes.
His precedessor in the seat, Winnie Laban, had won 18,070 votes at the 2008 election.
And so just like that, Labour has lost the support of almost 8000 voters.
True, Hekia Parata’s total vote from the 2008 election fell from 11,915 to 9317.
But the sad reality is that almost half of the Mana people couldn’t be bothered going out to stick a tick on a bit of paper alongside the name of the candidate they preferred.
This is an indictment of their lack of a sense of civic duty.
But much more important, among those who did make the effort to vote there was a 14% swing to National.
Kris Faafoi won the seat with 10,397 votes to Parata’s 9317.
This is not the final count, of course. Faafoi stands to lose a bit more ground by the time we get a final count.
Former MP Winnie Laban’s majority of more than 6000 was reduced to a majority of around 1000 votes.
Didn’t Phil Goff ballyhoo about the by-election being a referendum on the government?
So how is he going to explain the serious evaporation of Labour’s margin to his people?
Hekia’s achievement is summed up by the heading to the Sunday Star-Times report this morning –
For someone who had just discovered she had lost the Mana by-election, Hekia Parata sure was smiling a lot.
But then, as Prime Minister John Key said, sometimes losing is winning. Parata came within 1080 votes of pulling off the impossible – taking a safe Labour seat for National while the party is in government.
Parata was entitled to be jubilant.
“This is fabulous. We’re just thrilled.
“We wanted to make a really strong run at this, and I think we have done that.”
She said the result was a vote of confidence in National’s programme and direction.
The Herald on Sunday reports John Key’s delighted remarks –
“I never thought coming second in politics would feel so good,” he said.
“Sometimes losing is winning and this is one of them where we have had a tremendous result here.”
So what do the Labour supporters do to explain the collapse of support?
Oh. It’s because Faafoi had had only a seven week campaign, whereas Parata has stood there twice before and has had a five year campaign.
And what was Faafoi doing before the campaign began?
Oh, yes. He was trying to make Phil Goff look politically attractive as a press officer.
This, of course, is demanding work, like agreeing to make the Porirua rubbish dump look like a scenic attraction.
No doubt it had left the poor bugger exhausted by the time the campaign was launched.