Alliance backs McCarten over own candidate

The Alliance Party will effectively overlook its own candidate for the Mana by-election and instead throw its weight behind its former president Matt McCarten following his surprise move to contest the electorate.

Mr McCarten announced yesterday he would contest Mana on platforms of fair tax, jobs and lifting the minimum wage to $15.

There are eight nominees for the northern Wellington electorate, vacated following Labour MP Winnie Laban's recent resignation from Parliament, and while former Labour press secretary Kris Faafoi is heavily favoured to retain the Labour stronghold in her place, it has been considered a two-horse race between him and National MP Hekia Parata.

Alliance co-leader Kay Murray said the last-minute entry by Mr McCarten, who is backed by the Unite Union which he leads, took the party by surprise.

"However, the Alliance is backing Matt's campaign in the interests of a strong left challenge to National and Labour in the by election, despite having already selected its own candidate," she said.

Ms Murray said the candidate, Kelly Buchanan, had been prepared to withdraw her nomination to make way for the higher profile Mr McCarten, but the party was unable to file the necessary papers in time, meaning her name would remain on ballot papers.

Mr McCarten had the best chance of success in pulling in a strong left vote, and Alliance supporters should therefore vote for him, Ms Murray said.

"If it comes down to the wire, Alliance votes may make a real difference to the outcome for building opposition to National's right wing agenda and Labour's flip flopping."

Others contesting Mana are Colin Du Plessis (ACT), Jan Logie (Greens), Julian Crawford (Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party) and Sean Fitzpatrick (Libertarianz).

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