Who is on top in Hutt South?
It is all on in Hutt South with both Labour’s Ginny Andersen and National’s Chris Bishop claiming the advantage.
Although the seat has been in the hands of Labour for decades, Trevor Mallard’s decision to go on the party list has created one of the most hotly contested electorates in the country.
Mallard won in 2014 by a majority of 709, despite National getting 6745 more party votes than Labour.
In the three years since, Bishop has been in campaign mode, making no secret of his desire to hold an electorate seat.
Andersen looked to be in trouble when Labour was only polling in the mid 20s. Ranked number 27 on the party list, the 42-year-old mum of four, was in danger of missing out on her dream of being an MP.
Labour’s decision to go with Jacinda Ardern has revitalised her campaign. With Labour now polling strongly, she seems certain to be elected via the list, if Bishop takes Hutt South.
The situation is less clear for Bishop, who at 33 is seen as a future star for National.
He is number 40 on National’s list and a big swing to Labour and an Andersen win, could see him out of Parliament altogether.
Andersen does not accept that she has ever been behind and noted that in the last election, Bishop did not win despite National’s landslide victory.
Last week Bishop said he was ‘‘cautiously optimistic’’ based on his belief he is now well known in the electorate. He also believes that there are more National than Labour voters in Hutt South and Labour can no longer rely on Mallard’s personal following.
A weekend story by Stuff posted on social media gave a good indication of the level of interest in the contest.
It had more than 11,000 hits with a wide range of comments. Alice Robinson was one of many Labour supporters favouring Andersen.
‘‘Chris certainly is everywhere, but has he used his place in Parliament to address Hutt South issues like housing, health, education and suicide? Ginny has a family, broader life experience, and a political party that cares.’’
Katie Brown also supported Andersen. ‘‘Ginny is a smart, committed woman who has already done great things for the
‘‘Last week Bishop said he was cautiously optimistic ’’
Hutt, particularly with mental health. She will be a great voice for those that need it.’’
Jenna Thompson held a different view. ‘‘Chris Bishop has done so much for Hutt South over the last few years and his efforts should be noticed. To be honest I didn’t even know who was running against him.’’
Matt Henderson had a similar view. ‘‘I personally don’t think the effort that Chris Bishop has made over the past several years should go ignored.’’
Dean Prover preferred to sit on the fence. ‘‘Bishop seems to be doing more putting himself forward as the candidate for the electorate where personally Andersen feels like she is more Labour than Hutt South.’’ Andersen and Bishop are the only candidates looking to win Hutt South.
The publicity they have generated has largely drowned out the candidates chasing the party vote.
See Candidates on Housing, p26-27