Candidates locked in for election

By Amelia Romanos

File photo / Martin Sykes.
File photo / Martin Sykes.

The die has been cast for this month's election with candidates now locked in.

Nominations closed yesterday, and the Electoral Commission today released the official list of candidates who will compete in the November 26 race.

The list shows a significant drop in both the number of political parties and individuals seeking a place in Parliament.

While there were 19 parties in 2008, only thirteen have registered to contest the party vote this year.

National, Labour, Act, the Greens, Maori Party, Mana, and United Future are all seeking reelection, while Jim Anderton's Progressive Party is the only current Parliament party not contesting.

The six parties from outside Parliament include Alliance, Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis, Conservative, Democrats for Social Credit, Libertarianz, and New Zealand First.

The most sought-after seat is Wellington Central where 12 candidates have put up their hands, while the Maori electorate of Waiariki has the lowest number of candidates with just three.

With four MPs going head to head, Ohariu takes out top honours as the heavyweight electorate. Although United Future's Peter Dunne has held the seat since 1984, he faces stiff competition in Labour's Charles Chauvel, National's Katrina Shanks and Green Party's Gareth Hughes.

The four seasoned politicians could also face a considerable threat from the Libertarianz candidate if rugby-mad voters simply look at the name. But a little research shows that Sean Fitzpatrick is in fact a Britain-born martial arts expert rather than the former All Blacks captain.

Among the other notable nominations is a husband and wife team standing for New Zealand First in the Waikato. Barbara Stewart, No 5 on the party's list, is standing in the Waikato electorate, while Gordon Stewart, No 29, will contest Hamilton East.

There are 544 individual candidates, well short of the 682 registered in 2008. The number of men competing for a place is more than double the number of women, with 397 compared with 147.

Of the candidates, 91 are list-only, 73 are electorate-only, and 380 standing for both. Thirty are standing as independents or representing unregistered parties.

- APNZ

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