‘Deep end’ start for sole NZ First MP in South Island

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Mark Patterson is the only New Zealand First MP in the South Island.

Clutha-Southland will have two MPs after the weekend’s general election: Mr Patterson and National’s Hamish Walker.

Mr Patterson ran for the hotly contested Clutha-Southland seat but was beaten by Mr Walker.

He and the other new MPs are in Wellington at Parliament learning the ropes this week.

He described Monday as being a bit like the first day of school.

Being seventh on the party’s list gained him the place in Parliament and gave the fourth-generation Lawrence sheep and beef farmer myriad emotions.

Along with the excitement came determination, he said.

“There’s a level of anxiety,” Mr Patterson said.

While New Zealand First had secured a position of influence when it came to forming a government, the smaller parties generally did not fare well on the night, he said.

“It was a tough night for smaller parties in general,” he said.

But New Zealand First, in comparison to other small parties, had held its own.

Mr Patterson did not know if or where he would set up an electorate office.

Allocation of resources was yet to be discussed, he said.

Mr Patterson said there would be a caucus meeting today and he would then start to get a “bit of an idea of the lie of the land”, he said.

“It’s very much right in the deep end,” he said.

He had hired a staff member to run the farm when he was campaigning and hoped the worker would stay in the position, he said.

Mr Patterson paid tribute to Mr Walker and congratulated him on his win.

He said all candidates fought a hard campaign and it was carried out in good spirits.