Labour list MP Phil Twyford has ruled himself out as a candidate in Mt Albert.
The move effectively closes the door on a return by former Auckland Central MP Judith Tizard.
Ms Tizard is the next on Labour's list and would have come back to Parliament if Mr Twyford had stood and won the seat vacated by former prime minister Helen Clark.
Mr Twyford said he believed the by-election was an ideal opportunity to bring more fresh talent to Parliament.
National will choose between current List MP Melissa Lee, who entered Parliament last year, and Ravi Musuku, who has been the local candidate for at least the last two elections iirc.
Candidates who might seek the Labour nomination, particularly given Twyford is not, could be:
- Hamish McCracken - strong support from union affiliates, has served his time running in unwinnable seats, and is ambitious to be an MP soonest
- Helen White - employment lawyer, local member who has been in and out of the party
- Meg Bates - former Young Labour president, politics Head tutor and lecturer*, and I believe a sometime reader of this fair blog
- Louisa Wall - former Labour List MP, a bit further down the current list than Tizard, considered a possible successor to Clark in Mt Albert in the past, but perhaps not very well liked?
- Glenda Fryer - Auckland City Councillor with large personal following in the area
I'm sure there are others I've left off that others might wish to mention in comments. And the Greens have made it clear they are going to run a candidate; given the forthcoming leadership contest between Turei and Bradford perhaps this selection may become more important for their internal party politics than it might have otherwise. Mt Albert is one of the Greens' best seats for party votes, but whether they can convert that into a good running in the by-election will depend on who the person is. One of the major local issues (the Waterview Tunnel) is very much in their territory.
It's a sign of hope to me, as a feminist, that in the first by-election of this new Government, after a decade of female prime ministers, that there are so many women in the mix for this race. If it ends up being Hamish versus Ravi it'll feel kind of odd!
* Apologies to Meg, I got her job description a bit wrong, but I've fixed it now. You can find out more about Meg here, thanks to her for emailing :-)