Election results 2020: Gerry Brownlee falls behind early in Christchurch seat of Ilam

National stalwart Gerry Brownlee has fallen behind early in the race for his long-held Ilam seat in Christchurch.

Labour’s Sarah Pallett, a midwifery lecturer, has rushed ahead early.

She’s more than 2000 votes ahead after 22 per cent of the votes being counted.

Brownlee, who spearheaded the John Key government’s rebuild of the city after the devastating 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, has served as the Member of Parliament for Ilam since 1996.

Tonight, the former woodwork school teacher and campaigner chairperson arrived at National’s campaign headquarters in Central Christchurch.

Commenting to media on the results as they stood, he said: “It’s democracy, isn’t it? We’ll see how the whole night plays out.

“Recognising this election has been dominated by the Government’s response to Covid-19 … the reality is none of the issues we raised during the campaign have gone away, so there is still a job for an opposition.”

At the Labour Party’s Christchurch headquarters, Pallett wasn’t getting ahead of herself, despite a commanding lead.

With a third of the votes counted (33.1 per cent), the local midwifery lecturer and mother-of-two, was a staggering 2495 votes ahead.

“It’s really early days,” she told NZME.

She paid tribute to a whole team who had put in a lot of work to try and wrestle the seat away from Brownlee.

But she was conscious there was a long way to go.

“We’re not counting our chickens,” she said.

“We’re keeping our heads and just really excited about what we’re seeing so far.”

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