Government dealt 'major blow' as Hamilton West swings hard to National

The Government was dealt a major blow ahead of election year last night with the bellwether Hamilton West swing seat swinging hard to the Nats.

National's Tama Potaka swept to a resounding victory with 46 percent of the vote, leaving Labour's candidate in the dust.

Political Editor Jenna Lynch was in Hamilton with the winners and the losers to watch the results come in.

Dance like nobody is watching - except everyone was looking, tooting, and waving at the new MP for Hamilton West on his thank-you tour.

Head, shoulders, knees and toes above the rest, Tama Potaka wiped the floor with the other candidates.

"Big change next year - as I say the sky is blue, the sea is blue and next year the Government will be blue," he said.

After an excruciating wait for results, Newshub was with Potaka as the first numbers rolled in last night.

Every update just kept getting better but Potaka wasn't keen to claim the game until every last vote was counted.

"We'll see at the end of the evening," he said.

And at the end of the evening, he was "pretty happy".

"Oh chahoo!" he exclaimed.

Chahoo alright. Potaka gained 46 percent of the vote. Meanwhile Labour's candidate Georgie Dansey trailed way behind on just 30.2 percent. Over at the red party, there were brave faces and she received a hero's welcome despite the grim results.

"The result isn't exactly what we wanted but hey it's what we expected," Dansey said.

Then she hightailed it down Hamilton's main road to concede in person - as is Hamilton West tradition.

"Do you know mostly I'm just so stoked that to have tangata whenua here representing us," she said.

The by-election was sparked by the spectacular resignation of former Labour MP Dr Gaurav Sharma, who said he had no regrets. And he showed up to the party too to congratulate Potaka, and took none of the hints that a speech wasn't required from him.

"If you need any help I'm happy to catch up with you over coffee," he told Potaka.

Because National leader Christopher Luxon and new MP Potaka were who everyone really wanted to hear from.

Luxon tried to hype being humble.

"No complacency, no arrogance," he said.

Although the bellwether Hamilton West went National's way - and it's being sold as an early election year signal - he's not getting ahead of himself.

"It's fantastic, it's fantastic, don't get me wrong, but there's work to do," Luxon said.

But his team took this win as a sign of things to come.

"The people of Hamilton West have sent a message to this Government - change is coming."

Hoping for a thumbs-up from the entire country next time around.