Democratic Party candidate Baker won 201 votes to Heather’s 179, in one of the surprise results of the snap election.
Speaking from his Akaoa home last night, a somewhat stunned Baker said, “Well, I’m over the moon! I really can’t believe it.”
“He (Heather) is not an easy man to take down, but he got it big time.
“The people decided to make a change. They could see what’s going on and they didn’t like what the CIP was doing regarding the United Nations and selling our fish for nothing.”
Baker, 56, said now that he was to become an MP he would be handing over his arborist business, Baker Tree Services, to his 21-year-old son, Kenny.
“He is a qualified arborist but I will always be here to guide him and make sure he is going down the right path.”
Acknowledging that he would be on a learning curve himself in his new role as an MP, Baker said, “I hope I’m not going to take a pounding from having stones thrown at me. That’s politics though. It’s a new path.”
Asked what he considered had made the difference in his election campaign this year, Baker put it down to changes the way it was structured.
“I thought it was time to restructure, but I’m not going to tell anyone how I did it. It’s our secret and it has involved four years of planning. I thought about it, and talked to my committee and campaign manager about it – and we got a good result.”
Asked for his wife Sue’s reaction to his win, Baker said she was also “surprised.”
“Everyone is here celebrating; we’re going to have a big night. But tomorrow morning it will be back to business – you know how it is.”