Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Labour selects Jamie Strange as Hamilton East candidate

Jamie Strange and Labour Party list candidate Anjum Rahman on the campaign trail in Taupo in 2014. PHOTO/ NZME
Jamie Strange and Labour Party list candidate Anjum Rahman on the campaign trail in Taupo in 2014. PHOTO/ NZME

Labour has selected music teacher Jamie Strange as its candidate in Hamilton East - once considered one of the bellwether seats of New Zealand.

The father of four young children will try to wrestle the seat back from National. David Bennett won the seat with a 10,000 vote majority in 2014.

Strange missed out on selection in Hamilton East in 2014 and was instead selected as Labour's candidate in Taupo despite his Hamilton base.

That is a safe National seat and Strange worked full-time throughout the campaign. He also stood unsuccessfully for Hamilton City Council in 2013.

Tony Cartner, Chair of the Hamilton East Labour Electorate Committee, said Strange was an excellent advocate for the Hamilton region and would make a good MP.

"We are gearing up to run a strong campaign in 2017 and planning is already well advanced."

Strange may have to win the seat to have any chance of getting into Parliament - Labour's target of 50 per cent women in caucus by 2017 will make the chances of a high list ranking slim.

Hamilton East and its sister electorate Hamilton West have traditionally been viewed as 'bellwether' seats as the MP who wins them is usually from the party that goes on to form a government.

There have been a few exceptions - Hamilton East was first won by Bennett in 2005, a close run election after which Labour formed the Government. ​Hamilton West has been held by National's Tim MacIndoe since 2008.

Labour General Secretary, Andrew Kirton, said: "Jamie Strange joins our growing list of energetic and forward-looking candidates who will stand for Labour in 2017."

- NZ Herald

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