NZ Election 2020: Labour's new Northcote MP Shanan Halbert dedicates win to beloved father

Northcote's new Labour MP Shanan Halbert has dedicated last night's victory to his beloved father, who succumbed to his battle with terminal lung cancer mere hours before the election.

Halbert - who snatched the Northcote seat from National's Dan Bidois - revealed he had just lost his "biggest champion" on Saturday morning in a candid Facebook post. 

His father, Winston Halbert, had promised his son he would make it until election day, Halbert shared. The 80-year-old was diagnosed with the terminal illness in October last year.

"He kept his promise to be here until election day," Halbert wrote.

"We will be taking dad to Omahu Marae at approximately 10am tomorrow and then we'll take dad to Moawhango Marae with the funeral being held at 11am on Tuesday. Moe mai ra toku papa."

Speaking to NZME on Sunday morning, the Labour MP said he and his father shared their final exchange over the phone on Friday evening.

"I was able to tell him it looked good, we had our fingers crossed and I reiterated to him how important he was to me and I've always said that this campaign was for him," he said.

Halbert said his father's cancer was believed to have been caused by exposure to asbestos during his time in the freezing works, an industrial facility where meat is frozen for export.

"He didn't drink or smoke, a year ago he was going for 50-minute runs. He was looking good for an 80-year-old."

Halbert stole the Northcote seat from National's Dan Bidois (left) by a slim margin.
Halbert stole the Northcote seat from National's Dan Bidois (left) by a slim margin. Photo credit: File

Winston Halbert later switched careers and trained as a teacher, but always had time to help with his son's campaigns. 

"He was very proud this time round, so it was good to get that result last night."

Halbert travelled from Auckland to Napier on Sunday morning to farewell his father alongside his family. 

Halbert secured the Northcote seat with 15,832 votes, Bidois trailing behind by a margin of 1358. The National MP had held the electorate since 2018. Green Party MP Natasha Fairley came in third place with a modest 1360 votes.