Jacinda Ardern wants to stand in Mt Albert by-election

6:05 pm on 14 December 2016

Labour Party list MP Jacinda Ardern has confirmed she aims to stand for the seat of Mount Albert, after it was vacated by David Shearer.

Jacinda Ardern

Labour Party MP Jacinda Ardern. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Mr Shearer has resigned from Parliament to take up a job heading the United Nation's mission in South Sudan. He had been the MP for Mt Albert since 2009.

Ms Ardern said boundary changes to Auckland Central, where she had previously run, made standing in Mt Albert a logical move.

Labour MP David Shearer.

David Shearer resigned as MP for Mt Albert to take up a job with the UN. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

"A big chunk of Auckland Central - Grey Lynn, Westmere, Arch Hill - all moved over into Mt Albert, so the call really was, do I stay in the new version of Central Auckland or follow some of those communities over to Mt Albert?

"I've made the decision to really follow, and equally, a bit part of my thinking was that it would be an exciting opportunity to be a part of a by-election."

Earlier this year Ms Ardern shifted and now lives in the electorate.

"I am now living in Mt Albert and look it does pose an exciting opportunity to work across the area that I do live in."

Labour leader Andrew Little said he supported Ms Ardern's bid.

But Mr Little also said he expected the selection process for the Labour candidate to be hotly contested.

"I support her in it. No doubt there will be a long queue, because there was the last time a selection was require in Mt Albert, but she would be a fantastic MP for Mt Albert and we'll see who else wants to join the sing-song."

Mr Little said Ms Ardern performed very well in the Auckland Central electorate race at the last election.

Ms Ardern was first elected to Parliament in 2008 and is the Labour Party spokesperson for Auckland Issues, Children, Justice and Heritage, Arts, Culture and Heritage.

Mt Albert is a safe Labour seat.

Last election, Ms Ardern stood in Auckland Central. National's Nikki Kaye won the seat by 600 votes.

Ms Kaye, who is receiving treatment for breast cancer, intends to return to full duties next year and defend her seat in the general election.

Labour's nominations for the Mt Albert by-election close on 12 January.

A date for the by-election has not yet been set.

The by-election will closely follow one in the nearby Auckland electorate of Mt Roskill. On 3 December Labour candidate Michael Wood won a by-election, forced by the resignation of Phil Goff, who quit as Mt Roskill's MP to become Auckland mayor.

The Mt Albert by-election will be the third by-election during the current parliamentary term. Taxpayers look set to spend a total of $3 million on the three votes.

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