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

Matt McCarten set to move from Andrew Little's chief of staff to Labour's man in Auckland

Matt McCarten at a Labour Party announcement at Parliament in 2014. PHOTO/ Mark Mitchell
Matt McCarten at a Labour Party announcement at Parliament in 2014. PHOTO/ Mark Mitchell

Labour leader Andrew Little is to open a new Labour Party office in Auckland and re-deploy his chief of staff Matt McCarten as Labour prepares for battle in 2017.

Little said Labour's new office in Auckland would open by the end of September and McCarten had offered to head it.

It was part of the planning for election year, including how to target the voter-rich Auckland.

McCarten had volunteered to take on the role and was not being pushed.

"He wanted to do it. His strength is in the networks and setting up programmes and places for me to go to and getting stuff organised. And that is what I need."

Labour currently does not have a party base in Auckland other than its MPs' electorate offices.

Little said he would be spending a lot of time in Auckland and needed a base there. It would be formally announced at a Labour function for Auckland businesses, interest groups and movers and shakers on Wednesday.

Auckland was McCarten's stomping ground before he moved to Wellington in 2014 to become former Labour leader David Cunliffe's chief of staff. McCarten was retained by Little after he took over the leadership after the 2014 election.

That will leave Little without a chief of staff in the Parliamentary offices. He would not say what his plans were to fill that position.

Little is also yet to replace his former chief press secretary Sarah Stuart who left in May after little more than a year in the role.

​In the past McCarten, a former Alliance Party President, has been involved with the Maori Party and the Mana Party as an advisor.

- NZ Herald

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