Auckland's lines of power have been redrawn, with two new electorates and changes to others. We profile the key electorates and the key battles.
Botany, with the country's highest proportion of overseas-born residents (49 per cent), has delivered majorities of more than 10,000 votes to successive National candidates in the last two general elections. Jami-Lee Ross became the youngest member of Parliament at 25 in a byelection in 2011 after Pansy Wong's resignation over misusing a travel subsidy. National has propelled him from 55 to 29 on its list. Although he was among supporters of the MP for Papakura, Judith Collins, it seems unlikely that her downfall will chew into his zone of affluence where it is hard to buy a home for less than $650,000. That has not stopped Azerbaijani-born multilingual insurance rep Tofik Mamedov spending more than a year door-knocking to try to raise Labour's vote above the 7000 or so polled in previous elections, vowing to "fix transport" and make housing more affordable. Taiwanese-born Paul Young is standing again, for the Conservatives after the demise of his New Citizen Party.
Candidates: David McCormick, Independent; Tofik Mamedov, Labour; Jami-Lee Ross, National; Paul Young, Conservative.
Prime Minister John Key's safe seat of Helensville has drawn a big field of candidates, including Internet Party leader Laila Harre, activist Penny Bright and senior Green Party list MP Dr Kennedy Graham. Key, who had a 2011 majority for National of 21,000, attended his only public meeting in the campaign for the northwest Auckland seat last month. But it served as a highly publicised platform for Harre, who said she was standing against Key "because the Prime Minister has some explaining to do". Electoral boundary changes have consigned some of Helensville's National-voting areas to other electorates but it has gained coastal and rural areas of the Waitakere Ranges and New Lynn as well as part of Rodney. The Labour candidate, Corie Haddock, works for the Lifewise housing and crisis social service. He lives at Huapai and says residents need a local to represent them in their concerns about lack of local jobs, traffic congestion and limited public transport.
Candidates: Penny Bright, Independent; Deborah Dougherty, Conservative; Kennedy Graham, Green Party; Corie Haddock, Labour; Laila Harre, Internet Party; John Key, National; Phelan Pirrie, Act NZ; Brendan Whyte, Independent.
Kelston (new electorate)
A new seat formed from parts of Waitakere, Te Atatu, Mt Albert and New Lynn. Most of the polling places claimed from them were strongly Labour in 2011 but Labour candidate Carmel Sepuloni says, "I can't take it for granted - I lost [Waitakere] by nine votes at the last election." Mother of two Sepuloni is on the Kelston Boys' High School board of trustees and the Thrive Team Parents Support Trust in West Auckland. Her National rival is naval officer-turned-commercial lawyer Christopher Penk, who lives in the electorate. He came on board last month after the list MP lined up for the seat, Claudette Hauiti, withdrew and he is placed 68 on National's list. National says the seat's composition is favourable to it, with about a third of its population coming from the old Waitakere seat.
Candidates: Anne Degia-Pala, NZ First; Bruce Haycock, Act New Zealand; Ruth Irwin, Green Party; Jeff Lye, Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party; Christopher Penk, National; Roshni Sami, Internet Party; Carmel Sepuloni, Labour Party; Paul Sommer, Conservative; Jason Woolston, United Future.
This electorate has escaped changes to its boundary which has yielded consistently solid results for Labour, with Su'a William Sio in 2011 winning a majority of 15,159 or 75.9 per cent. Mangere MP since 2008, he has faced a different National rival each election, and they have struggled to reach over 3000 votes. This time, the main challenger for Labour's spokesman in local government and Pacific Island affairs is Misa Fia Turner, who was born and raised in Samoa and has lived in the electorate for 20 years. A mother of four and grandmother of three, she is co-founder and clinical manager of 'Malu I Uo Faatuatua Family Relationship Services and clinical practice manager for Genesis Youth Trust, a police project to reduce youth crime and reoffending. Mangere has 40,000 registered to vote on the general roll, or 87.5 per cent of estimated eligible voters enrolled. However, the election turnout in 2011 was only 24,000.
Candidates: James Papali'i, Mana; Edward Saafi, Conservative; Sua William Sio, Labour; Muamua Sofi Strickson-Pua, Green Party; Misa Fia Turner, National.
Manukau East has always been a safe seat for Labour and Ross Robertson, who is stepping down after 27 years as the local MP. His successor is Jenny Salesa, who has worked in both the public and private sectors as a lawyer, health specialist, policy analyst and senior official. If she is elected as MP for Manukau East, she says she will advocate strongly for housing, unemployment and state services. Asenati Lole-Taylor became an NZ First list MP in 2011 after polling third in Manukau East with 3.7 per cent of the vote. A Kiwi of Samoan heritage, she was the party's spokeswoman for welfare and social policy and Pacific Island and ethnic affairs and was 8th on the party list but was demoted to 16th last month. Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi is 32 on National's list and has been in Parliament since 2008, where has been dubbed a contender for the title of most invisible MP. This term he drew attention for speaking out strongly against a law change to legalise same-sex marriage.
Candidates: Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, National; Asenati Lole-Taylor, NZ First; Umesh Perinpanayagam, Greens; Jenny Salesa, Labour; Vili M. Taukolo, Conservative; Joe Trinder, Mana; Annalucia Vermunt, Communist League.
Manurewa is solid Labour country but the state is not the prime mover in the showpiece developments within the electorate. At Wiri, a $900 million new men's prison will be built and operated by a private consortium and at Weymouth, a $120 million private housing development will produce 280 homes for $325,000 to $475,000. Its residents have a median age of 28, which is the lowest in the country, and Maori or Pacific Islanders comprise about 60 per cent of the population. Labour's Louisa Wall took the electorate with a majority of 8610 votes in 2011 when Labour picked up 14,517 party votes. She promoted the gay marriage bill, which passed into law last year. National's first-time candidate is Simeon Brown, who is a youth leader and deputy chairman of the Manurewa Local Board. National took 6351 of the party votes for a 26 per cent share. John Hall of New Zealand First returns for a third try in Manurewa where he had 1122 votes in 2011 and his party 1861 votes.
Candidates: Raewyn Bhana, Maori Party; Simeon Brown, National; Yvonne Dainty, Mana; John Hall, NZ First; Elliot Ikilei, Conservative; Trish Tupou, Green Party; Louisa Wall, Labour Party.: Raewyn Bhana, Maori Party; Simeon Brown, National; Yvonne Dainty, Mana; John Hall, NZ First; Elliot Ikilei, Conservative; Trish Tupou, Green Party; Louisa Wall, Labour Party.
This National-held seat promises one of the closest contests in Auckland because of boundary changes. A part of Royal Oak which supported National has gone to Mt Roskill, while Labour has gained friendly territory in a part of Otahuhu, Sylvia Park shops and Panama Rd and Portage Rd. On the flipside, National gained an area around Ellerslie Racecourse. National's Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga won the seat in 2008 from Labour and in 2011 had a majority of 3021, or 49.88 per cent of the vote, to beat Labour's Carol Beaumont, who has been a list MP since March and is challenging again. In January, Lotu-Iiga became Pacific Island Affairs Minister. He is also Associate Local Government Minister and a member of the social services select committee. One of his aims for the electorate is to get a tree planted on One Tree Hill. Beaumont says she stayed in touch with the electorate and believes that with a better polling turnout she has "a good fighting chance".
Candidates: Carol Beaumont, Labour; Felicity Coggan, Communist League; Sitaleki Finau, Mana; Richard Leckinger, Green Party; Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, National; Bryan Mockridge, United Future; Litia Simpson, Conservative.
Last time Labour MP David Shearer retained the seat with a 10,000-vote majority. In August last year, he stepped down after 20 months as leader and took up the party's foreign affairs and energy spokesman roles. The electorate he won in the 2009 byelection has changed dramatically too. Boundary revisions have seen it moving into the inner-city suburbs such as Westmere, Grey Lynn and Arch Hill. As for party votes, National's share in 2011 was nearly equal to that of Labour's, while the Green Party was chosen by 5660 voters. Shearer suspects Labour's party vote will fall because of the loss of highly concentrated Labour areas. The boundary changes will favour his main rival, who is again National list MP Melissa Lee. The former TV presenter is NZ's first Korean MP and has roles of Parliamentary Private Secretary for Ethnic Affairs and chairwoman of the social services select committee.
Candidates: Joe Carolan, Mana; Jeanette Elley, Greens; Tommy Fergusson, Act; Jeffrey Johnson, Conservative; Melissa Lee, National; David Shearer, Labour; Anthony Joseph Van Den Heuvel, Human Rights Party; Michael Wackrow, Independent.
Labour's Phil Goff won this seat 33 years ago, though he was tipped out in 1990 and won it back three years later.
His 2011 election majority was 7271 or 57.15 per cent of votes cast, but National is cheering boundary changes which have brought in part of Royal Oak bordering One Tree Hill while losing solid Labour areas in White Swan Rd and New Windsor. National has a new candidate, Dr Parmjeet Parmar, a scientist and businesswoman who moved to New Zealand in 1995 and is a director of her family's Kiwi Empire Confectionary. She is also a Families Commissioner and chairwoman of the NZ Sikh Women's Association. Goff is Labour's spokesman on defence, trade, ethnic affairs and veterans' affairs and is associate spokesman for foreign affairs. He has been in the news recently with the Labour Party calling for a wider government inquiry into the former Justice Minister Judith Collins' dealings with former Serious Fraud Office boss Adam Feeley.
Candidates: Mahesh Bindra, NZ First; Barry Coates, Green Party; Paul Davie, Conservative; Phil Goff, Labour; John Minto, Mana; Parmjeet Parmar, National.
The revitalised New Lynn town centre and the large volume of new residential building under way points to changing voter sympathies in a seat which Labour's David Cunliffe won in 2011 with a majority of 5190 votes.
On paper, it looks a safe Labour seat but it is also fruitful for National Party vote chasers. In 2011, National scored 749 more party votes than Labour. This time, Cunliffe has mostly been away from the electorate on Labour leadership duties and his local campaign workers have been door-knocking in unfamiliar territory gained in boundary changes.
He faces again his nearest rival in 2011, National list MP Tim Groser, who is Trade Minister and 14 on the party list.
The Green Party pulled in 4000 party votes from the old area but has lost a chunk of supporters on the western flank to the Helensville electorate.
Candidates: David Cunliffe, Labour; Tim Groser, National; Andrew Leitch, Democrats for Social Credit; Daniel Rogers, Greens; Steve Taylor, Conservative.
The wooded bays of the Waitemata Harbour make for a safe seat for National where Dr Jonathan Coleman has grown his majority vote in six years from 2300 votes to 9300.
Northcote has been untouched by boundary changes which sliced and diced other areas of the North Shore to adjust for voter population growth.
Coleman, who boosted his chances of taking the seat from Labour in 2005 by his willingness to take up the residents' main concern - the traffic congestion on Onewa Rd - has found an express lane through National's ranks, rising from 38th on the list in 2008 to this month's 10 ranking.
He holds ministerial portfolios in defence and state services and is Associate Finance Minister.
However, the candidate Labour has chosen this time to improve on its party vote of 8200 reckons his task is not as daunting as it might seem.
Richard Hills, who grew up in the electorate and is in his second term on the Kaipatiki Local Board of Auckland Council, said his door-knocking has uncovered fertile ground for Labour's housing policies. "Lack of affordable housing is felt across the spectrum really - people are worried about how their kids are going to buy a house in the future and the cost of renting."
Candidates: Jonathan Coleman National; Richard Hills, Labour; Gil Ho, Internet Party; Tim Kronfeld, Act NZ; Damian Light, United Future; Anne-Elise Smithson, Green Party; Matthew Webster, Conservative.
National's North Shore candidate, Maggie Barry, is not taking her 15,000-plus majority for granted after being disappointed by a relatively low voter turnout of 77 per cent in 2011. The former broadcaster has attended 10 candidates' meetings already this time, and made countless visits to rest homes and health sites, spreading word of National's promised extra funding for aged care. She would have done that anyway as a former patron of Alzheimer's and hospice bodies, and with her leadership of a working party into palliative care. But this time she faces no contest from NZ First for the electorate's considerable elderly vote, after its 2011 candidate Andrew Williams was axed from the party's list. Every other candidate is a first-time contender including Labour's Claire Szabo, whose leadership of Habitat for Humanity in NZ and Samoa lends weight to her call for more affordable housing. Greens candidate Brett Stansfield, an environmental consultant, has been unafraid to back an apartment proposal by Bayswater Marina. Right-of-centre voters have a choice between two lawyers in Act's Nick Kearney and the Conservatives' Melissa Perkin, while insurance loss adjuster Tim Leitch is trying to revive the Democrats.
Candidates: Maggie Barry, National; Nick Kearney, Act, Tim Leitch, Democrats for Social Credit; Melissa Perkin, Conservatives; Brett Stansfield, Greens; Claire Szabo, Labour.
Long-serving MP Maurice Williamson is vowing to win back the trust of those who delivered National a resounding majority of 14,400 party votes from his well-heeled electorate in 2011. That follows the well-liked MP's shock resignation as a minister in May after phoning senior police about a prosecution against Chinese businessman Donghua Liu, and his subsequent slide to 35th place on National's list. But Prime Minister John Key allowed him to keep the seat he has occupied since 1987, effectively shooing away Conservatives leader Colin Craig as a potential candidate, although Act chief Jamie Whyte is standing in Pakuranga while insisting his target is party rather than candidate votes. Labour has a tough job of improving its 2011 tally of about 6100 votes but candidate Barry Kirker, who practises in South Auckland as a clinical psychologist but lives in the electorate, is working the traps such as Pakuranga's night market while campaigning on "integrity and transparency".
Candidates: Andrew Craig, Conservatives; Barry Kirker, Labour; Jamie Whyte, Act; Maurice Williamson, National
Papakura is in the national spotlight thanks to the ministerial downfall of its MP Judith Collins, raising keen speculation over how much that will eat into the 10,277-vote majority she commanded in 2011. Although many who backed the former Justice Minister in the past two elections will stand by her for her doggedness, opposition parties claim to be milking a backlash among both National supporters and the electorate's large pool of traditional non-voters. Labour's Jerome Mika, a Samoan active in the trade union movement since the 1990s and a board member for two decile 1 schools, describes Papakura as a very diverse electorate but with a strong sense of community, "which is why a lot of people are disappointed". Mika, who stood in the electorate in 2011 when he netted 27 per cent of votes, is also targeting a large influx of Pacific residents in search of cheaper housing and his canvassing has taken him to a caravan park where he found only six of 36 residents had ever been to a polling booth. New Zealand First candidate and Papakura Local Board member Brent Catchpole, the Greens' Caroline Conroy and Act's John Thompson are all old hands at contesting the seat.
Candidates: Brent Catchpole, NZ First; Judith Collins, National; Caroline Conroy, Greens; Roger Fowler, Mana; Ann Kendall, Maori Party; Jerome Mika, Labour; Kevin Stitt, Conservatives; John Thompson, Act.
A blue electorate on steroids - in which Conservative Party leader Colin Craig came second to National's Mark Mitchell in 2011. Craig has shifted to East Coast Bays this time, leaving South African-born criminal lawyer Anton Heyns to try to whittle down Mitchell's majority of 12,222. The latter has been tarnished by association with political strategist Simon Lusk in Nicky Hager's book Dirty Politics over Lusk's alleged assistance with Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater in winning Mitchell National's nod in 2011 to succeed former Speaker of Parliament Sir Lockwood Smith. Mitchell, a former police dog handler, has said he received only guidance from Lusk and was considering legal action. Labour's Eric Bolt, an Orewa business consultant who wants the proposed $760 million motorway extension to Warkworth abandoned, calls the controversy an internal National Party matter. Mitchell has been praised by a local community activist for at least being an attentive listener. New Zealand First list MP and deputy leader Tracey Martin is drawing on strong community roots for her third campaign in the electorate, which is also being contested by second-time Act contender Beth Houlbrooke and environmental activist architect Malcolm McAll for the Greens.
Candidates: Eric Bolt, Labour; Anton Heyns, Conservatives; Beth Houlbrooke, Act; Malcolm McAll, Greens; Tracey Martin, NZ First; Mark Mitchell, National.
Tamaki is an area of great extremes - the country's richest man, Graeme Hart, lives on its lofty sea cliffs yet half of the electorate's other houses are owned by the state. The wealth of Auckland's eastern beaches and new expensive housing, like the Stonefields development in the former Winstone's Quarry, ensure that Simon O'Connor is returned to his safe National seat. He was a fresh face in 2011 and managed to build on the legacy of Allan Peachey to take a 67.67 per cent share of the votes cast and a majority of 17,786. This election campaign he is trying to expand the party vote, which is also the main aim of his nearest rival, Labour's Chao-Fu Wu. Taiwanese-born, educated in Manurewa and an Auckland resident for 22 years, Wu is in his second campaign, having stood in the Botany electorate last time, winning 7000 votes against National MP Jami-Lee Ross. The physiotherapist is finding the sore spot across the electorate. Labour's policies for supporting families and housing are getting a particularly good reception from households he has visited. The Green Party's Dorthe Siggaard, a biologist who missed out on a seat for the Orakei Local Board last year, is looking to increase the party vote of 3300 from 2011.
Candidates: Lisa Gibson, Mana; Mike Milne, Act NZ; Danny Mountain, Conservative; Simon O'Connor, National; Dorthe Siggaard, Green Party; Chao-Fu Wu, Labour
Labour's Phil Twyford won the seat in 2011 ahead of National's Tau Henare by a majority of 5416 votes. This time round, Henare is retiring and list MP Alfred Ngaro is taking up the fight for National, hoping to grow the party vote, which National has won in Te Atatu in the two past elections. Although Ngaro has an 18-year association with community development in Tamaki, he says he is a "true-blue Westie", having gone to school and played rugby there. He says he will strongly advocate for the area. Boundary changes have brought in Western Heights, Swanson and Ranui - areas where Ngaro says the people are more positive about what the Government has done. Small businesses are saying to him that the economy has picked up after a lean couple of years. Twyford is Labour's spokesman on Auckland issues, housing and transport and says fixing gridlock on the roads in West Auckland and ensuring every home is insulated for warmth are his main aims. He said it is unthinkable that the West is being picked to take a further 100,000 people in 15 years without "beefing up" transport links, particularly a dedicated busway on the Northwestern Motorway, and it is his priority to have one established.
Candidates: Stephen Fletcher, Act NZ; Adrian McDermott, Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party; Alfred Ngaro, National; Paddy O'Rourke, Conservative; Gary Stewart, Green Party; Phil Twyford, Labour; Chris Yong, Internet Party.