Adam Bennett at NZ Herald reports:
National and Act are working on a deal under which Act would not stand candidates in marginal seats, including New Plymouth and Waimakariri, to increase National’s chances of winning them.
This is sensible and not unusual. Off memory most elections there have been some seats where ACT doesn’t stand a candidate to avoid splitting the centre-right electorate vote. One of the nice things about MMP is that you can still contest the party vote, without needing to stand in an electorate.
Act’s new candidate in Epsom – John Banks – said while he was not privy to such discussions, “Waimakariri would have been held by a National Party member of Parliament today if it wasn’t for the Act Party candidate last election”.
“I don’t make those decisions. I’m not on the campaign committee and I’m not on the Act board so I can’t speak with any authority but would it make sense, for instance, to lose the seat of New Plymouth to Andrew Little, a future leader of the Labour party, likely to be the leader of the Labour Party post the election, to lose that seat held by Jonathan Young because we put up an Act candidate?”
Mr Banks indicated Act would consider a more general policy of not standing in marginal seats. “I would not want to dislodge any high-quality National Party MPs from their marginal seats by way of putting up an Act candidate.”
Very sensible stuff from Banskie.
Talking of electorates a source within Labour informs me that nominations for Epsom have not closed yet, but will next week. If someone stands against Parker it will go to a selection meeting. I suspect Epsom Labour Party has few members and few union affiliates in the seat, so my guess is the Head Office wishes would prevail easily. Of course yet to have it confirmed Parker is seeking Epsom.