Election results 2020: The battle for Wellington – who’s winning the race?

ANALYSIS:

Wellington has a lot of safe red seats, but there are still a couple of exciting electorates to watch this year- Hutt South and Ōhāriu. Click on the subheadings to take you through to full profiles of each electorate and results as they some through. Listen on iHeart Radio for Newstalk ZB’s Spotlight on Wellington election coverage.

Hutt South- Electorate on a knife edge

National’s Chris Bishop is trying to keep the seat of Hutt South blue after he snatched it from Labour in 2017 by a margin of 1530 votes. He’s going up against Labour’s Ginny Andersen. She lost to Bishop last time after Trevor Mallard ran list only. Bishop has a strong public profile and knows how to rally around community issues. The real test will be whether he can withstand the popularity of Jacinda Ardern that Andersen brings with her on the campaign trail.

Remutaka- Home of the Education Minister

Chris Hipkins has been the local MP in Remutaka for the past 12 years and it’s unlikely that’s about to change. The seat has been a Labour stronghold since it was created. National’s candidate Mark Crofskey doesn’t live in the electorate, but says he has been working hard in Remutaka every day since he was selected to run there. He says people have a choice between someone who works in the electorate and someone like Hipkins, who works in town. Last time we checked the New Zealand Parliament Buildings were located at 1 Museum St, Pipitea, Wellington City.

Ōhāriu- All or nothing

Three MPs are contesting the Ōhāriu seat, but only one will return to Parliament. Incumbent Greg O’Connor is running electorate only for Labour, a move to shore up votes. He won by a margin of just 1051 last election after United Future leader Peter Dunne hung up the boots. But National’s Brett Hudson says he’s in essentially the same situation, because he won’t get into Parliament as a list MP based on how his party is currently polling. New Zealand First’s Tracey Martin is also vying for the seat. It’s unlikely she’ll get back into Parliament without winning the seat either, with her party languishing in the polls.

Mana- A new face but still safe

Barbara Edmonds is running for Labour in Mana after incumbent MP Kris Faafoi made the call to run list-only. He secured a 10,980 majority over National’s candidate in 2017. In fact, the seat has never been held by any other party. This time National is running Jo Hayes, who seems to be parachuted in where she’s needed when it comes to election time. Hayes says a journalist once told her people might say she’s a carpetbagger. She replied: “We’re all carpetbaggers, mate.”

Wellington Central- Battle of the party high flyers

This is a safe seat for Labour’s Grant Robertson, who has been the Wellington Central MP for 12 years now and spent the last term in Government as Finance Minister.The seat has predominantly been held by Labour MPs with one notable exception being Richard Prebble, who won the seat for Act in 1996. This time Act’s deputy leader Brooke van Velden is campaigning in the electorate. She’ll easily make it in as a list MP based on her party’s polling. Greens co-leader James Shaw also calls Wellington home and is campaigning in the electorate to bolster the party vote. National’s Nicola Willis has been catapulted up her party’s list rankings this year. She knows she’s an underdog but has proven an effective advocate on local issues these past three years.

Rongotai- Home of the second Mt Vic tunnel debacle

The electorate is a safe seat for Labour. It has only changed hands once when Annette King retired and Paul Eagle went on to win it again for the party in 2017. The Opportunities Party leader Geoff Simmons has also thrown his hat in the ring, adding some fire to the race. David Patterson has been selected to sing from National’s second Mt Victoria tunnel song sheet. Ironically, none of the key players in the second tunnel secret letter saga are actually contesting the seat, despite the fact Julie Anne Genter lives in the electorate and is instead running list-only for the Greens.

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