Former Progressive leader Jim Anderton has come full
circle and is now running Labour's campaign for the
Christchurch East by-election.
Once a former Labour president, he split away from Labour to
form a breakaway party but eventually made his peace with
them and governed with Labour for nine years.
The 75-year-old retired from Parliament in 2011 but with his
campaign experience with Labour, then the Alliance and the
Progressive Party and 27 years representing Christchurch
seats of Sydenham and Wigram, he was asked to do the job.
Party president Moira Coatsworth told the party's annual
conference the by-election on November 30 would be "an
absolute fight for us to win".
While it was won by Labour's Lianne Dalziel in 2011, with a
majority of 5334, National won the party vote by 46.10 per
cent to Labour's 31.65 per cent.
"Thousands of people have gone and local people are tired,"
she said. "More than anywhere else, this byelection campaign
needs all of us."
She urged delegates to stay on to help the campaign effort.
Lianne Dalziel resigned to become Mayor of Christchurch.
Mr Anderton himself had been considered a shoo-in for the job
in 2010, shortly before the first Canterbury earthquake.
But the disaster changed everything and Bob Parker stayed for
Mr Anderton's campaign was boosted on Saturday by several
busloads of Labour Party conference delegates and MPs who
descended upon some of the worst quake-affected parts of
Christchurch to canvas door to door.
They were armed with a new policy of a state-owned insurance
company, which Labour leader David Cunliffe had just
announced to the conference.
On Sunday Mr Cunliffe announced the 10,000 of the houses in
the party's Kiwibuild policy - 100,000 homes to be built in
10 years - would be built in Canterbury within four years of
a Labour-led Government taking office.
Housing spokesman Phil Twyford also unveiled a rebuild vision
for New Brighton.
Labour's candidate is Poto Williams, the regional manager of
the St John of God Hauora Trust, which works with family
National's candidate is Matthew Doocey, a healthcare manager
at the Canterbury District Health Board.
The Greens' candidate is David Moorhouse, a software
developer in community health.
- Audrey Young of the New Zealand Herald