Simon Bridges 'gets to be happy' with Northcote win - commentator

Simon Bridges and Dan Bidois.
Simon Bridges and Dan Bidois. Photo credit: Dan Bidois/Facebook

National's win in Auckland's Northcote by-election will be a pat on the back for new leader Simon Bridges, says a prominent political commentator.

Dan Bidois retained the seat for Natioanl with a 1300-vote margin over Labour on Saturday.

Political commentator Bryce Edwards of Victoria University says it will be confidence boost for Mr Bridges, who's struggling to capture voters' imaginations, despite his party's popularity.

"It would have reflected very poorly on how National are going and people might have started to talk about Bridges needing to depart as leader - but he gets to be happy with this."

But Dr Edwards says National will be disappointed they did not extend their margin - instead it narrowed, with Labour's Shanan Halbert improving on his showing at the 2017 General Election.

Dr Edwards says it was only a fight between the red and blue corners.

"It just shows that Green voters are willing to vote for Labour when it's a two-horse race; and likewise ACT voters, they'll go behind National quite easily."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called it a "very good outcome" for Labour, despite the loss.

Around 19,000 people turned out to vote, under 40 percent of those eligible.

"We always expect by-election numbers to be much reduced - people take less interest because they know this isn't going to affect the Government, it's not going to affect national politics," says Dr Edwards.

Around 36,000 votes were counted in the 2017 election.