McCarten for Mana

So Matt McCarten is standing as a UNITE backed Indpendent for Mana. What does this mean for the by-election?

The only certainty is that it means it will be a lot more interesting and even exciting, and will have more media coverage of it. Beyond that, it depends on a few things.

Most would conclude it is a slap in the face for Phil Goff and Kriss Faafoi. Rather ironic to have the candidate who won thanks to the union block votes, to now face a candidate from another union.

Does it mean Labour could lose the seat? To be honest, at this stage no one knows. It is safe to say that Matt is unlikely to pick up many votes from Hekia, so that helps National and Hekia.

What we don't know is whether he will get 500 votes or 5,000 votes. That may depend on what issues he campaigns on.

It is even possible this could help Faafoi and Labour. A battle on the left could get more left wing voters voting. And if Labour are tactically cunning, they could try and position themselves as the moderate party between National and McCarten.

So this announcement is a slap in the face for Labour, and no one in Labour will be happy with McCarten's candidacy. But that does not mean this has suddenly become a three-horse race, or that it is suddenly a marginal seat. Mana is very tribal Labour and UNITE has fewer activists on the ground here than in Auckland.

As said, the only guarantee is things will now be more exciting. I wasn't planning to attend any of the Meet The Candidates meetings, but now I might just go along to see what stunts Matt gets up to with chicken suits and the like.

UPDATE: The Electoral Commission has announced eight candidates for Mana. They are:

Kelly Buchanan Alliance
Julian Crawford Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party
Colin Du Plessis Act
Kris Faafoi Labour Party
Sean Fitzpatrick Libertarianz
Jan Logie Green Party
Matt McCarten Independent
Hekia Parata National Party

Nice name for the Libertarianz candidate!

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