The Waikato seat replaces Piako, held by Lindsay Tisch. Tisch won it in 1999 as Karapiro with a 5,216 majority. Before that it was held by John Luxton.

In 2002 as Piako Tisch beat Sue Morony by 1,621 and in 2005, extended his majority over Moroney to 8,351. So not really a marginal seat. I estimate on the new boundaries the majority is 6,916.

We passed through Waikato on the way to Hamilton. Blog reader (and commenter) Tauhei Notts offered us a lunch in Morrinsville so we weant off the main track to get there. And when I say off the main track, I mean it. I love having GPS in the car but sometimes it picks obscure back country roads to travel along, and we ended up motoring through all sorts of narrow roads, bypassing all the main centres totally. Took a bit longer but meant we saw some great countryside.

Now it transpired that Tauhei Notts, despite being an ACT stalwart, is an old family friend of Labour’s Jacinda Ardern, and Jacinda has just got back from the UK the previous day. So Jacinda and her mother joined us for lunch.

Jacinda was wonderful company. She is great to talk to (especially about international politics) and was so charming that even Whale Oil was heard to comment that she is far far too nice to be in Labour (whenever Whale meets a Labour MP or candidate he likes, he just assumes they are in the wrong party rather than concede nice people can be in Labour :-). In fact one of the most amusing parts of lunch was having Jacinda politely rebuff Whale’s suggestion that she really was a Tory deep down. Considering Jacinda is the President of the International Union of Socialist Youth, her political convictions are rather firm!

What I am saying here, won’t come as a surprise to many within Labour – but Jacinda is one of their real stars.  This is reflected in her stellar list ranking of 20, which would see her come in on a party vote of 25% for Labour. I suspect she will move up the ranks quickly.

She isn’t going to dent Lindsay’s majority this time. But as a native of the Waikato she will be an effective List MP for the area, and at a future election when the tide is going out rather than in for National, she could make it a close race. Definitely worth watching out for.

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