The by-election in Mt Albert caused by David Shearer’s resignation from Parliament takes place on 25 February.
This is the first possible electoral test for the National Party under Bill English, but they have bottled-out of standing rather than risk another drubbing after the party’s poor performance in Mt Roskill. Given that National won a plurality in the party vote in Mt Albert in 2014, National are not showing any confidence under their new leadership.
Labour have selected the list MP Jacinda Ardern as their candidate for this shoo-in. This must be queried. It is a typical example of Labour’s elitist and careerist practice of parachuting-in a “name” rather than select a grassroots local activist. Ardern has been Labour’s candidate for Auckland Central where she has whittled down Nikki Kaye’s majority to 717 in 2011 and 600 in 2014. Auckland Central is the most marginal electorate in the country, so why has Ardern abandoned it for greener pastures instead of persevering and giving Labour the best chance of winning back the seat it held almost continuously from 1919 to 2005?