Poll finds Tauranga voters think ACT more effective than National as David Seymour announces Cameron Luxton as candidate

Voters, start your engines: the race to replace Simon Bridges in Tauranga has begun. 

The ACT Party has just declared it will run a candidate in the upcoming by-election, by the name of C Luxton, and Newshub has obtained exclusive internal poll results that show why the party is giving it a crack. 

The resignation of National's Bridges has triggered a by-election in Tauranga and ACT leader David Seymour is there trying to inflate his candidate's chances.

His candidate is Mr C Luxton. No, it's not the leader of the National Party Christopher Luxon. ACT's candidate is Cameron Luxton. 

Though, it may take some time for locals to get to know him. 

"Sorry, Cameron who?" one local said to Newshub. 

"That's the leader of the National Party?" another asked. 

Yeah, that's a little bit confusing. But Luxton has a couple of handy hints: his surname has a T.

"Without a T, you're not quite as good," he told Newshub. 

And there's another characteristic Luxton has he thinks sets him apart from the National Party leader. 

"I'm not as bald yet," he laughed. 

So, does he have a shot? Well, at the last election Bridges won with nearly 19,000 votes. Labour's Jan Tinetti - not so far behind on nearly 17,000 - has confirmed she's throwing her hat in the ring. Luxton also ran for ACT and got 1739 votes, which is 4 percent. 

Luxon, the National Party leader, is confident his party has it in the bag. 

"National's going to win the Tauranga by-election," he said. 

What about Labour?

"Well, there hasn't been any series of events since 1935 that has led to a Labour win in Tauranga," said Prime Minister and Labour leader Jacinda Ardern. 

Seymour is more confident. 

"ACT's candidate is going to win and that's up to the people of Tauranga," he told Newshub. "Labour and National think this by-election is about them. Cam Luxton says it's all about Tauranga." 

And here's why ACT thinks it can paint the town pink. 

Newshub has obtained exclusive access to a poll of 500 eligible Tauranga voters, commissioned by the ACT Party and undertaken by National's pollster Curia. 

It asked: "Which of the following do you think has been the most effective Opposition party since the October 2020 election?" 

A majority - 52 percent - said the ACT Party was most effective while just 36 percent thought National - the largest Opposition party - was doing the best job. The Māori Party got 7 percent and New Zealand First landed on 5 percent. 

"We are recognised as the most effective Opposition party in a city that is angry with the Government," Seymour said.

"The message that Tauranga can send to Wellington is actually Cam Luxton to send a message to the Government."

The race is on to June 18 and the race on the right could just be the most interesting.