Bay residents look likely to see strong competition between Labour and National candidates as this year's general election creeps closer and closer.

In recent weeks Labour has selected and announced its candidates for the Tauranga and Bay of Plenty electorates - and they look set to put up a good fight against the incumbents.

I'm no Labour supporter, but I have to admit they have selected strong candidates this year.

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Merivale School principal Jan Tinetti, who has campaigned tirelessly for the homeless and for families struggling to get by, is running against Simon Bridges for the Tauranga seat.

Tauranga Women's Refuge manager Angela Warren-Clarke has been selected to go head-to-head with Todd Muller in the Bay of Plenty.

In my opinion, they are by far the best Labour candidates the Bay has had in the past couple of elections.

They are well known in the region and have dedicated their lives to often thankless jobs which serve their communities. They pour their heart and soul, not to mention countless hours, into those jobs in the pursuit of making life better for others.

It'll be a hard battle for both ladies in what are traditionally National electorates, but whether or not you support Labour, it is good for democracy to have strong candidates on both sides.

It will mean current MPs Simon Bridges and Todd Muller will have to up their game and campaign on what they can and will do for the city and the region.

A tight contest means voters win - candidates can't afford to be complacent, they have to work to win votes and push for initiatives which benefit their constituents.

It remains to be seen if the two Labour candidates can get those who traditionally don't vote out to the polling booth.

Either way, our current MPs are going to have to work to hold on to both the party and electorate votes.

Start thinking now about who you think would do the best job for residents and what party you want to see run the country - the election is not as far away as you may think.