No National candidate in Mt Albert byelection

The National Party has waved the white flag in the coming Mt Albert byelection,  announcing it will not stand a candidate.

Prime Minister Bill English has today confirmed a byelection will be held on Saturday, February 25,  after David Shearer quit Parliament to head the UN mission in South Sudan.

Jacinda Ardern
Jacinda Ardern

David Shearer.
David Shearer.

Labour MP Jacinda Ardern has confirmed she wants to be her party's candidate in the byelection. She has not been selected but is highly likely to be.

Mr English said the Government was focused on winning the 2017 general election.

``To achieve that goal, we don't intend to participate in a byelection in the new year that is in a safe Labour seat.''

The decision comes after National candidate Parmjeet Parmar lost heavily to Labour's Michael Wood in the Mt Roskill byelection this month.

Mt Albert was won in 2014 by Mr  Shearer with a majority of 10,656.

National got 14,360 party votes in the seat in 2014, about 3500 more than Labour, but the Green Party got 8000 party votes.

Mr Shearer's resignation will take effect at the end of December and his new role as the head of the UN Mission in South Sudan will begin in January.

Ms Ardern is a list MP and a win in Mt Albert means another Labour List MP will come into Parliament. Next on the list are Maryan Street and Moana Mackey, but Labour leader Andrew Little is understood to be keen to get Raymond Huo in to provide Chinese representation.

Ms Ardern recently moved into Mt Albert with her partner Clark Gayford but had been intending to stand for the third time in Auckland Central, prior to Mr Shearer's resignation.

Her shift to Mt Albert will open up the candidacy for Auckland Central, which Ms Ardern was hoping to win from National's Nikki Kaye on her third attempt.

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