A National Party member, Margaret Voyce, has announced she is challenging Clem Simich for the Tamki nomination.
I have a lot of time for Clem, and also know and like Margaret, so I’m not going to comment on any preferences of mine. Not that it matters anyway because unlike Labour only local members get a vote.
Tamaki is no longer a safe National seat. While it did have the 7th highest party vote for National in 2002, the electorate vote fell by 11% to just 35%. In fact Tamaki is now National’s most marginal seat with a 1,207 vote majority.
Three of National’s MPs won their seats after challenging a sitting MP for the nomination. John Carter for Northland in 1987, John Key for Helensville in 2002 and Judith Collins for Clevedon in 2002. One can argue Key and Collins were not quite challenges as Neeson and Kyd whom they beat were MPs for Waitakere and Hunua respectively, which had differeent boundaries (and names) to the new seats.
It will be an interesting contest to watch. Just as important will be the selections for the non National held seats. Under National’s new rules all but a maximum of five list candidates must also be electorate candidates. With polls indicating 25 – 30 new MPs, at least 80% of them will be from seats which National may not win, but will get a List MP. So expect to see contsted selection battles for almost every seat.