NZ First leader Winston Peters continues to hint at a stand in the Northland by-election, declaring the vacant seat “winnable”.
Today Labour announced that Willow-Jean Prime, a Far North District councillor who contested the 2014 election for the party, would be its candidate in the March 28 vote.
The vacancy was created by the resignation of National MP Mike Sabin for personal reasons.
Sabin defeated Prime by 9300 votes at the last election, a fall of more than 2000 votes compared with the 2011 election, where he was standing for the first time.
NZ First did not stand an MP in the seat, but gained 4546 party votes.
Labour leader Andrew Little has admitted the party’s chances of winning the seat are “slim” but Peters, who hails from the region, believes National can be defeated.
“It’s winnable. The economic social circumstances up in the north are seriously one of being neglected and ignored,” Peters said.
“The question is whether [Northland voters] they say, in one voice, we need to have a clear voice in Parliament, distinct from the rest,” Peters said.
He denied the seat was a safe seat for National, pointing out that it had lost there in 1963.
That is a new definition of not being safe – the fact someone else won it 52 years ago!!
Also Winston has his facts wrong. It was 1966 not 1963. Vern Crackwell won the the Hobson seat off National’s Logan Sloane by 3% in 1966.
Tonight the NZ First board is scheduled to hold a teleconference where Peters said the matter would be discussed, but Peters denied that a decision would be made this evening.
The NZ First caucus would “of course” discuss the matter at its first meeting of the year in Parliament tomorrow, but Peters said it would ultimately be up to the board to make the decision.
Anyone who knows anything about NZ First knows that the board of course will not make any such decision. Winston will solely decide.
I think it is likely he will run.