A win for National candidate Hekia Parata in Mana today would be like Labour winning Bay of Plenty.
That commentators are even contemplating a loss for Labour is a very good reflection on Hekia and the campaign she and the party have run.
Labour started on the wrong foot by selecting a candidate supported by HQ and unions rather than the electorate. The late entry of Matt McCarten which gives another focus for disaffected left voters hasn’t helped.
If Hekia did win, a strange twist of MMP would give National another MP in parliament on the list to replace her and Labour would end an MP down by losing an electorate.
I’m not predicting that, even with a terrific candidate and a faultless campaign, turning a deep red seat to blue is a big ask. But whatever happens today, Hekia can’t lose – even if she doesn’t take the seat she’s rattled the opposition and anyone who can do that in the heat of a by-election is a winner.