Nicholas Jones is a New Zealand Herald political reporter.

Peter Dunne will contest 2017 election

United Future leader and Ohariu MP Peter Dunne plans to contest this year's election. PHOTO: LYNDA FERINGA
United Future leader and Ohariu MP Peter Dunne plans to contest this year's election. PHOTO: LYNDA FERINGA

United Future leader Peter Dunne has poured cold water on speculation he could retire from politics - confirming he plans to contest this year's election.

Dunne today confirmed his intention to stand again in the Ohariu electorate in Wellington in this year's general election.

"It is certainly my intention to stand again based on the many strong messages of encouragement and support I have been receiving from my constituents over recent months," he told the Herald.

Former Police Association president Greg O'Connor is rumoured to be interested in becoming Labour's Ohariu candidate. Nominations close on February 3.

O'Connor did not respond to a request for comment today.

There is speculation former Police Association national president Greg O'Connor could enter politics. Photo by Mark Mitchell.
There is speculation former Police Association national president Greg O'Connor could enter politics. Photo by Mark Mitchell.

O'Connor is a cousin to Labour and West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O'Connor, and is well known to many New Zealanders through his 21 years heading the Police Association.

Labour's Ohariu candidate at the 2014 election, Virginia Andersen, lost to Dunne by 710 votes and has since been confirmed as the party's Hutt South candidate for 2017.

If O'Connor was interested in entering politics and selected by Labour - in Ohariu or another seat - the party would gain a well-known candidate with deep knowledge of law and order.

He often took a hardline stance in his role as Police Association president, including calling for officers to be armed. In a last speech to the Association conference in October he slammed the Government over a lack of police resourcing, and called for an urgent increase in officer numbers.

O'Connor lives in Wellington with his family, and in a speech to the Johnsonville Rotary Club last year said he had been an Ohariu resident early in his police career and it "felt like coming home" to be back in Johnsonville.

Labour and the Greens formally agreed in May to campaign together, and have already made an electoral agreement in the Mt Roskill byelection, where the Greens did not stand a candidate.

Labour Party list MP Jacinda Ardern is highly likely to be named as her party's candidate in the Mt Albert by-election. Photo by Mark Mitchell.
Labour Party list MP Jacinda Ardern is highly likely to be named as her party's candidate in the Mt Albert by-election. Photo by Mark Mitchell.

Meanwhile, Labour will select its candidate for the Mt Albert byelection this week.

Nominations close on Thursday, with Jacinda Ardern a near-certainty to be selected.

The byelection will be held on Saturday, February 25. It is being held after David Shearer quit Parliament to head the UN mission in South Sudan.

National will not stand a candidate, with Prime Minister Bill English saying the party wants to concentrate on the general election rather than contest a safe Labour seat.

The Green Party's candidate is likely to be MP Julie Anne Genter.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 26 Apr 2017 17:04:01 Processing Time: 613ms