Greens' Julie Anne Genter and Labour's Jacinda Ardern strike up friendship in Mt Albert

Green Party MP Julie Anne Genter wants to be Transport Minister in a Labour-Green Government. Photo / File
Green Party MP Julie Anne Genter wants to be Transport Minister in a Labour-Green Government. Photo / File

The least bitter rivalry in New Zealand politics has broken out in the Mt Albert by-election, with the two leading candidates striking up a new friendship.

The Greens' Julie Anne Genter and Labour's Jacinda Ardern have been car-pooling to events together and handing out leaflets side by side.

At a debate hosted by the Spinoff website last week, the pair even showed off matching dance moves.

Genter, who is the Greens' health and transport spokeswoman, said she had built up a close relationship with Ardern on the campaign trail.

"It's been really fun being on the campaign with her. We get on really well and I've really appreciated it.

"Because we have very different portfolios, we don't often run into each other at Parliament. We have really different areas of expertise and backgrounds, so it doesn't feel like I'm in direct competition.

"It's more like I have something to offer that's different to what she has to offer."

Genter and Ardern have made a point of not attacking each other to show their parties can work together under their Memorandum of Understanding.

Genter said there were some subtle policy differences between the two parties. The Greens still wanted a capital gains tax to help make housing more affordable, while Labour has dropped the idea.



The Greens also want a rail line to the airport as soon as possible. Labour supports the idea, but wants to start with a rail line on Dominion Road and develop it into airport rail over the longer term.

Ardern is the favourite to win the Mt Albert seat previously held by David Shearer, but Genter's bid could still be a useful profile-building exercise.

On the day of the byelection, Green Party delegates will begin the list ranking process, and a strong showing could improve her chances of promotion.

Since entering Parliament in 2011 at 13th on the list, she has risen to seventh in the caucus rankings. She was given the lofty finance portfolio in 2015, though co-leader James Shaw has now taken over that role.

If Labour and the Greens come into power in September, the former transport consultant would be well placed to become Transport Minister.

Asked what her ambitions are, Genter said: "I'd like to retain a high list ranking and get back into Parliament, and be Minister of Transport and maybe Associate Minister of Health." She would not say whether she wanted to eventually be co-leader.

Nearly 2600 people have voted so far in the byelection. The first results are expected to be announced at around 7.30pm on Saturday.

Candidates

Amos Adam (independent)
Jacinda Ardern (Labour)
Dale Arthur (Independent)
Penny Bright (Independent)
Patrick Brown (Communist League)
Joe Carolan (Socialist - People Before Profit)
Julie Anne Genter (Green)
Abe Gray (The Cannabis Party)
Geoff Simmons (The Opportunities Party)
Simon Smythe (NAP)
Vin Tomar (New Zealand People's Party)
Anthony Van Den Heuvel (Human Rights Party)
Peter Wakeman (Independent)

For a guide to candidates, see here.

Where to cast advance votes

Grey Lynn Community Centre, 510 Richmond Rd
Mt Albert Presbyterian Church Hall, 14 Mt Albert Rd
Pt Chevalier Library, 1221 Great North Rd
Eden-Albert Citizens Advice Bureau, 82 St Lukes Rd

For a full list of voting places on election day (Feb 25), see here:

- NZ Herald

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