Video: Christopher Luxon hits HB to rally National Party's prospects for next election
National Party Leader Christopher Luxon pounded the pavement and spoke with regional leaders in an attempt to improve the party’s vote.
The flying visit to the region yesterday saw Luxon meet with mayors and councillors, local growers, small business owners and people on the street, before a public meeting at the Hastings A&P Showgrounds.
It is the first visit by Luxon to the region since he became the opposition leader in November last year, taking over from embattled leader Judith Collins.
And it comes off the back of a poor election result in the region which saw National Tukituki MP Lawrence Yule lose his seat in 2020 to Labour MP Anna Lorck, and the traditionally blue Wairarapa seat turn red. Currently, National Party Taupo MP Louise Upston holds the role of the party's "caretaker MP" for Hawke's Bay.
"That's really partly why I'm here because the reality is we had a very poor election result in 2020," Luxon told Hawke's Bay App.
"These are historically seats that have been very strong for the National Party but we need to be able to come here and demonstrate that we're serious about listening to the concerns of the people here and then developing plans so that they can actually build trust that we will actually follow through and do what we say we will do when we become Government in 2023."
His party is considering contesting Māori seats, including Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, at the 2023 election for the first time in over two decades.
"If we're going to be a very successful mainstream party, we have to be a national National Party and what I mean by that is we have to be able to present our beliefs, and our principals and our plans and our proposals to each and every community across New Zealand."
From speaking to people, he says the "big four" challenges in the region are around transport, the hospital, law and order and skill shortages.
Part of the solution, he sees, is central government and local government working together to "make the improvements that are necessary to people's daily lives in a given region".