New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is standing in the Northland by-election.
. . . He said today that standing in the by-election was not an easy decision, but he had a long held concern for “Northland’s forgotten people”.
National had forgotten Northland for years, and the region was stagnating, Peters said. . .
He will be hoping that Northland voters have forgotten, or never knew, about the vagaries of MMP.
Should he win the seat he will become an electorate MP and the next person on NZ First’s list will get into parliament. That’s Ria Bond from Invercargill.
Quite how Peters will persuade the good people of Northland they will be represented by voting him in as an electorate MP with his reputation for talking big and doing little and in the process losing an MP from their end of the country and gifting parliament one from the other will remain to be seen.
Labour has confirmed Willow-Jean Prime as its candidate, and the Act Party will stand Whangarei orchardist Robin Grieve.
The Green Party and the Maori Party are not standing candidates.
If Labour sabotage their candidate in an attempt to unite opposition votes behind Peters it could happen.
Voters often punish the governing party in a by-election and a new candidate usually doesn’t attract the same level of votes a sitting one did.
NZ First didn’t bother standing a candidate in Northland last year. Mike Sabin won the seat for National with 18,269 votes and a majority of 9,300 over Prime who got 8,969 votes.
National gained 17,412 party votes; Labour got 5,913 and NZ First 4,546. the Green Party managed to get 3,855 votes and its candidate gained 3,639 votes.
National members in the electorate will select their candidate tomorrow.
The five in contention are: Grant McCallum, Mita Harris, Matt King, Mark Osborne and Karen Rolleston.