Northcote by-election: The shortlist takes shape

Northcote by-election: The shortlist takes shape
Photo credit: Getty

The Northcote by-election is beginning to kick into gear, with the major parties announcing their short-list of candidates.

Most of the candidates are relative unknowns in national politics. That could mean we see people voting along party lines, rather than personality.

The electorate of Northcote is located on Auckland's North Shore and is relatively affluent, with a third of families earning more than $100,000 a year.

Labour candidate Auckland councillor Richard Hills is the most familiar name of the lot, with Māori fullbright scholar and economist Dan Bidois likely to gain some interest for National if selected.

The contest for the seat will be a test of the new Government and its popularity. If Labour decreases National's majority or outright wins the seat, it gets another member in Parliament and solidifies its mandate. If National wins, it can double-down on claims of its own popularity.

Some consider the Northcote electorate a bellwether seat - an electorate that backs the mood of the nation; backs the winning party. Others question whether MMP New Zealand has any true bellwether seats, especially when the largest single party is in opposition.

The Labour Party's short-list comprises three candidates: Mr Hills, Labour's former Northcote candidate Shanan Halbert and Paul McGreal, who lacks a public profile.

Mr Halbert ran against Dr Coleman in 2017, losing by 6200 votes.

National's five-person shortlist comprises fullbright scholar and economist Dan Bidois, local board member Lisa Whyte, Kaipatiki Local Board chair Danielle Grant, and politics newcomers Darren Ward and Simon Watts.

Meanwhile, the Government's partner-parties are yet to decide whether they will stand candidates in the by-election.

If neither support party stands, Labour could fight for its share of its support parties vote - though it could struggle to convince people to turn up and vote.

Anyone can run in the by-election, so TOP or the Maori Party could raise their heads again. Neither confirmed their plans to Newshub on Wednesday morning.