Mt Albert by-election: Low turnout blights massive win for Jacinda Ardern

Labour's Jacinda Ardern has romped home in the Mt Albert by-election, with a huge majority over the Green Party's Julie Anne Genter.

The result was a foregone conclusion - it's a safe Labour seat and National didn't bother fielding a candidate.

Ms Ardern, previously a list MP, received 10,000 votes compared to Ms Genter's 1489, a majority of 8511.

Labour and the Greens were the only parliamentary parties contesting.

Ms Genter said the clean campaign showed Kiwi voters the two parties were ready to take on National, which will be aiming for a historic fourth term at the general election later this year.

"I think we've shown just how possible it is to cooperate and work together to change the Government."

At one point in the campaign, Ms Ardern and Ms Genter crossed paths - making for an unlikely impromptu photo-op.

Ms Ardern significantly improved on predecessor David Shearer's margin of victory, but due to the low turnout received fewer than half the 20,970 votes he got in 2014.

"I could sit here, we could pick over the results and talk about the margins and what they told us, but for the people out there, what matters is what we can do with it and what change we can bring," Ms Ardern said last night.

Mr Shearer won 58 percent of the vote - much less than Ms Ardern's 77, but Ms Ardern's only competition came from parties and candidates on the left - National and ACT both sat out of the by-election.

Only 12,971 people voted from a possible 45,000 registered in the electorate. Nearly 37,000 voted in 2014.

Raymond Huo will now join Parliament, with Ms Ardern previously a list MP.

The other runners-up

In third place with 600 votes was Geoff Simmons, candidate for Gareth Morgan's new Opportunities Party.

Fourth was People's Party candidate Vin Tomar with 191, and fifth went to Joe Carolan, a union organiser running under the Socialist - People before Profit banner, with 171.

Perennial protest candidate Penny Bright was the only other candidate to get more than 100 votes.

Surprise at the margin

Massey University politics professor Grant Duncan said the Greens would be dissapointed at the gulf between Ms Genter and Ms Ardern.

"I'm personally surprised how low it is for the Greens. Yes, it was a friendly competition between those two candidates… but the margin is quite significant."

But not as dissapointed as Gareth Morgan's Opportunities Party will be.

"The Opportunities Party candidate has completely bombed. You might think that some disappointed National Party supporters who had no one else to vote for might have thought 'let's give this guy a try'. Clearly, he just hasn't really fired."

Prof Duncan says the landslide win could mean big things lie ahead for Ms Adern however, despite the low turnout.

"Now she's an electorate MP, that boosts her mana."

Newshub.

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