The Herald reports:
Labour MP Jacinda Ardern has put up her hand to stand for Labour in Mt Albert in the likely byelection prompted by incumbent David Shearer’s departure.
Labour is almost certain to selected Ardern for the seat, which Labour has held since it was created in 1946 and was former Prime Minister Helen Clark’s stronghold between 1981 and her departure in 2009.
There have been only three MPs for Mt Albert over 70 years.
- Warren Freer 1947 to 1981 – 34 years
- Helen Clark 1981 to 2009 – 28 years
- David Shearer 2009 to 2016 – seven years
If Ardern becomes MP for Mt Albert it will allow Labour to bring in a list MP ahead of the 2017 election – Labour leader Andrew Little is keen to get Raymond Huo back to give Labour some Chinese representation. That will mean Maryan Street and Moana Mackey will have to forfeit their places ahead of Huo on the party’s list.
Poor Raymond may not be an MP for long if he does come back. On current polling Labour would get very few List MPs.
Until Shearer’s resignation, Ardern had expected to stand again in the marginal Auckland Central for the third time after losing to National’s Nikki Kaye in 2011 and 2014. Kaye has a 700-vote majority – the slimmest in New Zealand. Kaye is still on leave being treated for breast cancer but has confirmed she will stand again.
Asked if Ardern was effectively conceding defeat to Kaye in Auckland Central, Ardern said “everyone knows I lost twice – the results are pretty clear. But no, it’s not a concession. I still genuinely believe Auckland Central can be won and I intend to work closely with whoever is the new candidate if I get selected [for Mt Albert].”
You generally only swap seats for one reason – because you don’t think you’ll win the one you are in.
She had recently moved into the Mt Albert electorate, but said the decision to switch her candidacy to Mt Albert had been a genuine dilemma because she had worked in Auckland Central for eight years and built up a good team.
If Jacinda moved some time ago, maybe she had an idea the seat would become vacant?
Anyway it is a sensible move for Jacinda. On the latest Roy Morgan poll she would not make it back as a List MP – even if ranked No 2 on the list. This gives her a likely seat for life.