Who is on top in Hutt South?

The Hutt News - - FRONT PAGE - NI­CHOLAS BOY­ACK

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

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