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Ardern seeks to contest Mt Albert seat

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 13/12/2016

Labour MP Jacinda Ardern will put her name forward to contest her departing colleague David Shearer's Mount Albert electorate next year but denies it's because she doesn't think she can beat Nikki Kaye in Auckland Central.

Ms Ardern has lost twice to Ms Kaye, who announced last week she will recontest the seat again next year, in 2011 and 2014.

She says the Auckland Central electorate is changing and a large number of constituents from that electorate have moved to Mt Albert, where she too lives.

"For me, it was a hard call - do I stay in a seat that's changing a lot? I think Auckland Central will continue to get a bit smaller as the inner city grows and there's every chance that Mt Albert will continue to take in some of those communities," she said.

"I really enjoyed running against Nikki, we had a great contest against each other and we got to know each other really, really well but while it would have been great to give that another shot this was another opportunity as well that in the end I thought I needed to give a go."

While Auckland Central is the nation's most marginal electorate, Mt Albert is a safe Labour seat held by former prime minister Helen Clark before incumbent David Shearer.

Mr Shearer is expected to leave parliament in January after accepting a position to lead the United Nations' peace keeping operations in South Sudan.

Labour leader Andrew Little said no doubt there would be a long queue of candidates to contest Mt Albert for Labour, as in the past.

"But she will be a fantastic MP for Mt Albert and we'll see who else wants to join the sing-song," he said.

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