After an abysmal defeat in the weekend, the National Party is gearing up to come back stronger.
National’s Dr Shane Reti (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Wai) was pensive: “Yesterday was a very sad day when we said goodbye to many very effective, very good MPs, who have been friends.”
Reti is himself hanging on a knife’s edge as he waits for special votes to see if he can keep his 164-vote lead in Whangarei.
Among the Mps who lost their seats were two Māori MPs, Jo Hayes and Harete Hipango. Reti says that this has affected the ethnic diversity of the party but he believes there is always opportunity for people of different ethnicities to make it in the party.
“We promote and bring in people based on merit - that is one of our core principles and I fail to believe that there are not Māori and Pacific or other ethnic people who can’t advance on merit. I absolutely believe that and stand here today as one example,” he says.
National has its work cut out for it but Dr Reti has every confidence that it will make a great comeback.
“The main task is, to get our ship in order, we need to organise ourselves, we need to be disciplined, then we need to go back to our electorates and ask ‘what did we miss and how can we do better and how can we better serve you.’”
An internal review is already underway into National’s election campaign performanc