Queenstown's Mooney storms through to retain Southland seat
Joseph Mooney has comfortably won a second term as the Member of Parliament for Southland.
The Queenstowner has watched results roll in tonight with family, friends and party supporters at Joe's Garage.
With 100 percent of votes tallied, Mr Mooney sits on 19,981 votes, well ahead of closest rival Labour candidate Simon McCallum on 5,008 votes, and the Green's Dave Kennedy, in third place, on 2,875 votes.
National has received 49 percent of the party vote, compared to Labour's 17 percent - in contrast to the 2020 election when the Labour tide that swept New Zealand turned Southland, one of the country's safe blue seats, red.
Tonight, commentators have called the election results a 'blue-nami', and Mr Mooney says it has been an "exciting" but not unexpected end to the campaign.
"We've certainly been hearing on the ground that there's been a strong mood for change."
His party's leader, Christopher Luxon, is the country's new prime minister, and in Mr Mooney's view, that is great news for Southland.
"Our campaign has been focused on getting New Zealand back on track, and this is literally what we're going to be doing."
He says a National-led Government will be focused on "a big turnaround job".
"There's a lot that we have planned to do in our first 100 days....And we are really going to focus on delivering on those promises to the New Zealand people and the people of Southland."
Mr Mooney would not be drawn on what role he could play in a National-led Government.
"It's way too early to be looking at that. We're just going to be focused on the roles that are coming through tonight, and we'll go from there."
The former rafting guide, ski field 'liftie' and lawyer is National's tourism spokesperson.
While it will be his first term as a Member of Parliament in Government, Mr Mooney says it will not change the job he does for the people of Southland.
"From my perspective, it's my job to represent the people of the region as best as I can and make sure their needs and their interests are heard in Parliament, so we can get some good things across the line for them."
Working alongside him in Wellington will be new National Member of Parliament Miles Anderson, who has easily won retiring National Member of Parliament Jacqui Dean's seat in neighbouring Waitaki electorate.
"I think he'll make a really fantastic MP...We're neighbours and I'm really excited to see him there and get to work with him," Mr Mooney says.
Another Queenstown local will be joining Wellington's lawmakers - fourth on the ACT list Todd Stephenson will also be joining Mr Mooney and spending the next three years as a Member of Parliament.
Mr Stephenson also stood as a candidate in Southland, receiving 2,312 votes, placing him fourth of seven candidates.