Labour is looking at the Mt Roskill by-election as a test run for the big show next year.
With Phil Goff winning the Auckland mayoralty race, the Mt Roskill seat has been vacated and already candidates are throwing their hats in the ring to get their hands on it.
Labour announced way back in June that Michael Wood, a local board member in the electorate would be their candidate. And just a few weeks back the Greens announced they'd be giving him a clear run for the left votes by not standing a candidate.
Labour leader Andrew Little told Newshub he knows Mt Roskill is their chance to get their ducks in a row for next year's general election.
"It's certainly a test run for our campaign organisation and the motivation that we have the energy and drive that we can apply to it."
While they won't necessarily be trialling any policy ideas in Mt Roskill it's the perfect opportunity to fine tune their campaign strategy, Mr Little said.
"I think it'll be a good test run for things like that for next year - about what is going to have the most impact, what's going to give us the greatest opportunity for contact with voters both telling our message, but also getting feedback from them."
The by-election comes after an outstanding show of support for Labour candidates in local body elections - the three largest centres all voted in Labour-aligned mayors.
"I'm not going to count my chickens before they hatch in terms of the general election but you take what lessons you can out of local body elections I think we've seen some good things."
Mr Little says those who campaigned on "Labour issues" came out on top.
"There is a greater acceptance of the sort of issues that we've been talking about," he said. "Those who ran on our issues about housing, about low incomes and wanting to get better incomes, even issues like crime, they seem to have done quite well."
But that doesn't mean he thinks they'll be cruising to victory next year.
"I think it certainly sets us up well for next year but it doesn't guarantee us a result for next year. We've got to do our own hard work and win the confidence of the New Zealand public to form a Government."
The National Party is likely to nominate local list MP Dr Parmjeet Parmar for the Mt Roskill seat.
The People's Party, an emerging party harnessing the frustration of migrant communities, will also be in the mix.
Mt Roskill has been held by Labour since it was created in 1999 and a Government has never won a seat off an opposition party in a by-election in New Zealand.
But it's expected to be a battle because the cost of housing is a hot issue in Auckland and the electorate is an interesting mix with 39 percent of its population identifying as Asian.
NZN / Newshub.