Blue-green sidelined in Northcote

Richard Hills with the PM

LATEST: National picks high school dropout turned Harvard grad for Northcote

National and Labour make their Northcote byelection candidate picks today.

It's a foregone conclusion that National will win the seat, which is being contested following Jonathan Coleman's resignation.

The former health minister won with a 9664 majority in 2014 and 6210 in 2017.

A key point of interest was lost as National released its shortlist, revealing that "blue-green" candidate Vernon Tava had failed to make it to the final round, which will be contested this afternoon.

Mr Tava was a Green Party male co-leader contender in 2014. Earlier, political commentator Bryce Edwards speculated that his bid for the Northcote nomination could be the precursor to the formation of a blue-green party that would give National a fresh coalition option in 2020.

MMP conspiracy theorists could still see the episode as one of profile-raising and positioning for Mr Tava.

But in any case, he is out of the picture for now, and National's five candidates are:

  • Dan Bidois: a former OECD economist and policy analyst who now works as a strategy and new ventures manager for Foodstuffs
  • Danielle Grant: a marketing consultant and Kaipātiki Local Board deputy chairwoman
  • Darren Ward
  • Lisa Whyte: an accountant and Upper Harbour Board chairwoman
  • Simon Watts: a CFO and previous UK investment banker who is now a local Northcote Point resident

Labour's candidates

  • Shanan Halbert: head of relationships at the Te Wananga o Aotearoa polytech and Labour's Northcote candidate in 2017
  • Richard Hills: placed a distant second for Labour as its Northcote candidate in 2014 but the prolific networker went on to win a North Shore ward seat on Auckland Council in 2016 – no mean feat for an openly gay, liberal candidate in a conservative part of the city
  • Paul McGreal

While the Labour nominee will have no realistic chance, either Halbert or Hills will be looking to narrow National's majority in what will be inevitably seen as a referendum on Labor's first six months, and to bolster their chances of winning a high list position or safer seat in 2020.

The Greens have yet to decide if they will stand a candidate or give Labour a free run. The party will meet this week.

The Northcote byelection will be held on June 9.

It seems likely it will not be the last of this cycle. National leader Simon Bridges has indicated he expects one more electorate MP to resign before the end of this parliamentary term.


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8 Comments & Questions

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Well the reality is that Northcote is not a foregone conclusion for National

That kind of arrogant statement is similar to what was said pre the last election and also during the coalition talks - nonsense.

Northcote is not a historically safe National seat - although it has been for the last 12 to 15 years. Also Jonathan Coleman has been found out following his resignation as his previous health portfolio is blown apart with poor management for years. There are also issues that he failed to address in the Northcote electorate - he was all noise with no delivery.

This will be closer than you think and may well go to the government - especially if the three coalition parties are aligned.

Simon Bridges and National will be worried - they are expected to win but are in trouble

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Mr Scribe, you really can’t believe this. The people of Northcote are hard working tax payers who get little in way of public transport services. Labour lost them on the fuel tax alone.

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Not without cause - the locals stridently opposed Skypath, even to the point of court action (and subsequent pasting). Those sorts of characters, who are clearly gong to vote for the National Party candidate, make it difficult for any new transport project.

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To be fair James if you live in Northcote you’ve chosen to make your life as difficult as possible. They’re lucky the bridge isn’t tolled.

Rather like the Aucklander moving to the backwop provinces then loudly demanding everyone else pay more to improve infrastructure so they don’t have to pay Auckland prices.

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@Scribe: Yawn.

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"Northcote is not a historically safe National seat - although it has been for the last 12 to 15 years'. So ... it is historically a safe National seat.

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If Labour were to win this, how much would it weaken the power the Greens and NZ First have over Labour?

It might be strategic to lose this seat to help make a certain minor party irrelevant next election...

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And there should go the already dented reputations all the self-appointed "expert" political tea leaf readers who saw Tava as a head office plant to develop a blue-green coalition partner.....

Labour as usual have chosen a failed candidate who has a CV lighter than his pregnant leader's current drinks and National have picked an articulate young man who at least has worked overseas, gained a very decent education and worked in a job that most old time Labour voters would be familiar with. They are both the same age and the differences could not be greater. I think National are taking the by-election slightly more seriously.

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