2017 Mount Albert by-election

The 2017 Mount Albert by-election was a New Zealand by-election held in the Mount Albert electorate on 25 February 2017 during the 51st New Zealand Parliament. The seat was vacated following the resignation of David Shearer, a former Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party.[1][2]

2017 Mount Albert by-election

← 2014 25 February 2017 2017 →

The Mount Albert electorate seat in the House of Representatives
Turnout13,649 (30.0%)
Jacinda Ardern, 2018.jpg
Julie Anne Genter MP.jpg
Candidate Jacinda Ardern Julie Anne Genter
Party Labour Green
Popular vote 10,495 1,564
Percentage 76.89 11.45

Mount Albert electorate, 2014.svg
Mount Albert electorate boundaries used for the by-election

MP before election

David Shearer

Elected MP

Jacinda Ardern

The by-election was avoided by all right and centre-right parties, and turnout was low. The electorate was won by Labour Party list MP Jacinda Ardern by a large margin. Another Labour member, Raymond Huo, filled Ardern's list seat.


The Mount Albert electorate includes the communities of Point Chevalier, Owairaka, Mount Albert, part of Sandringham, Kingsland, and is home to Eden Park. As a result of boundary changes in 2014, the electorate gained the suburbs of Grey Lynn and Westmere, but lost Waterview and the areas alongside Rosebank Road to the Kelston electorate. Mount Albert (known as Owairaka from 1996 to 1999) was held between 1981 and 2009 by Helen Clark, ending with her retirement from parliament.[3]

Although just 23.0% of the Mount Albert electorate is over 50 (the fifth-lowest proportion among general electorates), the share of those aged 30–49 (34.1%) is the highest in New Zealand. The largest sector of those working is in the professions, science and technical industries (16.7%); a further 5.4% work in the media and communications sectors, the largest share of any general electorate. Compared to the rest of New Zealand in 2013, Mount Albert had low levels of those who were married (33.5%, 5th lowest), owned their own home (36.4%, 7th lowest), and who declared a Christian religious affiliation (38.5%, 3rd lowest).[3]

The winning candidate in the 2014 election, David Shearer (Labour), captured a majority (58.7%) of the 35,716 valid electorate votes cast for candidates in the Mount Albert electorate. The National Party captured a plurality (39.1%) of the party votes in Mount Albert, up 2.4 percentage points on its party vote share in 2011. The Labour Party captured 29.4% of the party votes, while the Green Party was third with 21.8% of the party votes. No other party gained more than 5% of the party votes. Turnout (total votes cast as a proportion of enrolled electors) in 2014 was 80.4%.[3]

Resignation of David ShearerEdit

On 8 December 2016, David Shearer, a former leader of Labour, announced that he was going to head the United Nations Mission in South Sudan. He officially resigned from the House of Representatives on 31 December 2016.[4]


Party Name Notes
Independent Adam Amos 41-year old carer and former candidate for the Waitematā Local Board.[5]
Labour Jacinda Ardern 36-year old two-time Auckland Central candidate and high-profile List MP, Jacinda Ardern was the only nomination for Labour.[6][2][5] Her campaign launch as Labour's candidate was held on 22 January.[7][8]
Independent Dale Arthur A self-employed 36-year old local resident and great-nephew of former Labour cabinet minister Norman King.[9][5]
Independent Penny Bright An activist and a perennial candidate, Bright finished sixth in the 2016 Auckland mayoral election with 7,022 votes.[10]
Communist League Patrick Brown Activist, former candidate for various positions in local and national elections, and 62-year old supermarket worker, Brown received 1,826 votes in the 2016 Auckland mayoral election and lives in Mangere Bridge.[11][5]
Socialist Aotearoa Joe Carolan 46-year old former Mana Movement candidate and resident of Owairaka Joe Carolan stood as the candidate for Socialist Aotearoa,[12] a small revolutionary anti-capitalist organisation of which he is a co-founder.[5] Socialist Aotearoa stood on the ballot as "Socialist – People Before Profit."[13]
Green Julie Anne Genter Second-term Green list member of parliament and resident of Mount Eden Julie Anne Genter.[14][5]
Legalise Cannabis Abe Gray 34-year old university tutor, resident of Dunedin North, former candidate for the Dunedin mayoralty, and director of New Zealand's only cannabis museum.[15][5]
Opportunities Geoff Simmons 42-year old Morgan Foundation economist Geoff Simmons was the candidate of the newly-formed Opportunities Party.[16][5]
Not A Party Simon Smythe 47-year old Miramar resident Simon Smythe stood as a candidate and campaigned on the basis of encouraging the boycott of the by-election and the upcoming general election.[17][5]
People's Party Vin Tomar 42-year old early childhood teacher and real estate agent for the newly formed People's Party.[18][5]
Human Rights Party Anthony van den Heuvel 60-year old Kingsland resident Anthony van den Heuvel, a mathematician and perennial candidate who contested the Mount Albert seat four times before between 1993 and 2014.[5]
Independent Peter Wakeman Former ACT, National, Democratic, Social Credit, Green Party, Internet, and Labour Party member,[19] Wakeman stood in both the 1993 Tauranga by-election and 2004 Te Tai Hauauru by-election as an independent candidate.[5]

Nominations for the by-election closed on 1 February 2017[20] with thirteen candidates nominated.[13] The New Zealand National Party announced it would not stand a candidate in the by-election.[20] The Prime Minister, Bill English, cited that approach for multiple reasons; Mount Albert was a safe seat for Labour and that Jacinda Ardern, who is highly likely to get Labour's nomination, would be "pretty difficult to beat".[21] Other than The Opportunities Party, no right or center parties stood, with ACT New Zealand, United Future, and New Zealand First all avoiding the by-election.[22][12]


Voting from overseas started on 8 February. Advance voting started on 13 February 2017.[20]

Overall voter turnout was low, with only 27.6% of enrolled voters in Mount Albert voting in the by-election.[23] The figure was then officially recorded at 30% by the Electoral Commission, after counting of special votes.[24] This compares to a much higher turnout of 80.4% in the electorate for the 2014 general election.


The following table shows the final results:[25]

2017 Mount Albert by-election

Notes: Blue background denotes the winner of the by-election.
Pink background denotes a candidate elected from their party list prior to the by-election.
Yellow background denotes the winner of the by-election, who was a list MP prior to the by-election.
A  Y or  N denotes status of any incumbent, win or lose respectively.

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Jacinda Ardern 10,495 76.89
Green Julie Anne Genter 1,564 11.45
Opportunities Geoff Simmons 623 4.56
People's Party Vin Tomar 218 1.59
Socialist Aotearoa Joe Carolan 189 1.38
Independent Penny Bright 139 1.01
Legalise Cannabis Abe Gray 97 0.71
Independent Adam Amos 81 0.59
Independent Dale Arthur 54 0.39
Human Rights Anthony Van den Heuvel 34 0.24
Independent Peter Wakeman 30 0.21
Not A Party Simon Smythe 19 0.13
Communist League Patrick Brown 16 0.11
Informal votes 90 0.65
Total Valid votes 13,649 30.00
Labour hold Majority 8,931 65.43

Labour list MP Jacinda Ardern won the electorate and kept the seat for the Labour Party. As Ardern moved from a list seat to an electorate seat, the Labour Party replaced her list seat with another person from their party list. Labour party leader, Andrew Little, announced this would be Raymond Huo.[26][27] Huo was the third-highest unelected person on Labour's party list, but both Maryan Street and Moana Mackey announced they would decline the chance to return to Parliament.[28]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Audrey Young (8 December 2016). "David Shearer to quit for UN job: Mt Albert byelection looms". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Green Party to stand against Labour in Mt Albert by-election". stuff.co.nz. 23 December 2016. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "Mount Albert electorate profile". Parliamentary Library. June 2015. Retrieved 19 December 2016.  This article incorporates text by the Parliamentary Library available under the CC BY 3.0 license.
  4. ^ Audrey Young (8 December 2016). "David Shearer to quit for UN job: Mt Albert byelection looms". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Why vote for me? Mt Albert candidates in their own words". The New Zealand Herald. 20 February 2017. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  6. ^ Sam Sachdeva (19 December 2016). "Labour MP Jacinda Ardern to run for selection in Mt Albert by-election". stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  7. ^ "Jacinda Ardern Labour's sole nominee for Mt Albert by-election". Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  8. ^ Jones, Nicholas (12 January 2017). "Jacinda Ardern to contest Mt Albert byelection". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  9. ^ "Mt Albert By-Election Heats Up". 25 January 2017.
  10. ^ "Who will replace John Key? Auckland councillor confirms Helensville bid". 13 January 2017.
  11. ^ "Communist League announces candidate for Auckland mayor". 15 August 2016.
  12. ^ a b Satherley, Dan (2 January 2016). "Mt Albert by-election: Labour faces challenge from the left". Newshub. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  13. ^ a b "Mt Albert By-election Candidates Announced". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  14. ^ Nicholas Jones (12 January 2017). "Mt Albert byelection: It's Jacinda Ardern v Julie Anne Genter". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  15. ^ "Grad opening for New Zealand's first cannabis museum". 25 September 2013.
  16. ^ Lloyd Burr (1 February 2017). "Opportunities Party reveals Mt Albert candidate, new slogan". Newshub. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  17. ^ "NAP DURING THE RACE AGAIN!". 27 January 2017.
  18. ^ "New Zealand People Party to Spice up Mt Albert By-Election, Announces Candidate". Indian Weekender. 26 December 2016. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  19. ^ http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1702/S00039/peter-wakeman-independent-candidate-mt-albert-by-election.htm
  20. ^ a b c Sam Sachdeva (19 December 2016). "National will not stand candidate in Mt Albert by-election to replace Labour MP David Shearer". stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  21. ^ Jo Moir (20 December 2016). "Prime Minister Bill English says Labour's Jacinda Ardern would be 'difficult to beat' in the Mt Albert by-election". stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  22. ^ Kirk, Stacey (25 February 2017). "Labour's Jacinda Ardern registers massive win in Mt Albert by-election". Stuff. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  23. ^ "Landslide win for Jacinda Ardern in Mt Albert by-election". New Zealand Herald. 25 February 2017. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  24. ^ "Mt Albert By-election Official Results". Electoral Commission (New Zealand). 8 March 2017. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  25. ^ "Mt Albert - Preliminary Count". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  26. ^ "Live: Jacinda Ardern will be MP for Mt Albert after by-election win". Stuff. 25 February 2017. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  27. ^ Trevett, Claire (7 March 2017). "Jacinda Ardern to hit the road while David Clark and Megan Woods promoted in Labour's line up changes". New Zealand Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
  28. ^ "Labour's Raymond Huo set to return to Parliament after Maryan Street steps aside". The New Zealand Herald. 21 February 2017. Retrieved 21 February 2017.