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Labour's relevance lesson from Mt Roskill

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/12/2016

Labour's reinforced lesson from a hefty win in the Mt Roskill by-election is to keep things simple and make sure they are talking about things people care about, says new MP Michael Wood.

Mr Wood trounced National's Parmjeet Parmar with 11,170 votes against her 4652 amid low voter turnout in the Auckland electorate on Saturday.

With two recent nationwide polls giving Labour 28 per cent and then 23 per cent, the party badly needed a boost.

Mt Roskill was a safe Labour seat - Phil Goff held it with a majority of more than 8000 in the last general election before he stood down after winning the Auckland mayoralty.

Mr Wood's win probably exceeded Labour's expectations in an electorate where the party vote went to National in 2014.

It showed that Labour could win people's trust and votes with strong, simple messages around a small number of key issues that people really care about, he told RNZ on Sunday.

That was also one of the lessons learned from the general election loss in 2014, which would be taken on board for next year's vote.

"You can't throw a thousand different policies out there and hope that one of them will stick, which is a little bit what we did last time.

"You've just got to keep it simple and make sure that those issues are the ones that people are actually thinking about, actually caring about."

Mr Wood, who spent six years on the local council board, said his focus would be on affordable housing, crime and the desperate need for public transport investment.

Mt Roskill is the only part of Auckland without mass transit, such as a rail line or bus lanes.

"As this place grows, man, if we don't put the proper investment in mass transit in, we'll have problems."

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