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.
The Mount Albert electorate seat in the House of Representatives
Mount Albert electorate boundaries used for the by-election
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.
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).
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%.
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.
|Independent||Adam Amos||41-year old carer and former candidate for the Waitematā Local Board.|
|Labour||Jacinda Ardern||36-year old two-time Auckland Central candidate and high-profile List MP, Jacinda Ardern was the only nomination for Labour. Her campaign launch as Labour's candidate was held on 22 January.|
|Independent||Dale Arthur||A self-employed 36-year old local resident and great-nephew of former Labour cabinet minister Norman King.|
|Independent||Penny Bright||An activist and a perennial candidate, Bright finished sixth in the 2016 Auckland mayoral election with 7,022 votes.|
|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.|
|Socialist Aotearoa||Joe Carolan||46-year old former Mana Movement candidate and resident of Owairaka Joe Carolan stood as the candidate for Socialist Aotearoa, a small revolutionary anti-capitalist organisation of which he is a co-founder. Socialist Aotearoa stood on the ballot as "Socialist – People Before Profit."|
|Green||Julie Anne Genter||Second-term Green list member of parliament and resident of Mount Eden Julie Anne Genter.|
|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.|
|Opportunities||Geoff Simmons||42-year old Morgan Foundation economist Geoff Simmons was the candidate of the newly-formed Opportunities Party.|
|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.|
|People's Party||Vin Tomar||42-year old early childhood teacher and real estate agent for the newly formed People's Party.|
|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.|
|Independent||Peter Wakeman||Former ACT, National, Democratic, Social Credit, Green Party, Internet, and Labour Party member, Wakeman stood in both the 1993 Tauranga by-election and 2004 Te Tai Hauauru by-election as an independent candidate.|
Nominations for the by-election closed on 1 February 2017 with thirteen candidates nominated. The New Zealand National Party announced it would not stand a candidate in the by-election. 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". 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.
Overall voter turnout was low, with only 27.6% of enrolled voters in Mount Albert voting in the by-election. The figure was then officially recorded at 30% by the Electoral Commission, after counting of special votes. 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:
|2017 Mount Albert by-election|
Notes: Blue background denotes the winner of the by-election.
|Green||Julie Anne Genter||1,564||11.45|
|People's Party||Vin Tomar||218||1.59|
|Socialist Aotearoa||Joe Carolan||189||1.38|
|Legalise Cannabis||Abe Gray||97||0.71|
|Human Rights||Anthony Van den Heuvel||34||0.24|
|Not A Party||Simon Smythe||19||0.13|
|Communist League||Patrick Brown||16||0.11|
|Total Valid votes||13,649||30.00|
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. 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.
- 2016 Mount Roskill by-election, on 3 December 2016
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