Vote2020

Labour has selected Palmerston North Deputy Mayor Tangi Utikere for the electorate soon to be vacated by former Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.

The selection was made after just four days, as Lees-Galloway announced he would be stepping down as an MP at the election, after he was sacked by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Utikere will square off with National's candidate, 18-year-old William Wood in the electorate.

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Lees-Galloway had held the seat since 2008.

He won the seat in 2017 by roughly 6000 votes – but the party vote margin is much slimmer.

Last election, Labour won 14,648 votes compared with National's 14,276.

Lees-Galloway was sacked from Cabinet last week, after he admitted to having an extramarital affair with a former staffer while she was working in one of the ministries he heads.

Ardern was clear that the affair was not necessarily the sole reason she kicked him out of Cabinet.

Rather, Lees-Galloway's position was untenable because he was the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, and he had opened himself up to accusations of improperly using his power.

Utikere – a former secondary teacher born and raised in Palmerston North – said he has a proven track record and can deliver.

"My strengths in the policy areas of education, criminal justice, local government and resource management are assets that I would bring to serve our community in Parliament," she said.

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"I've spent my working life helping people in our community - first as a secondary teacher, then as a city councillor and now as Deputy Mayor.

He added that it was humbling to have been chosen by local members to be Labour's candidate for the community he grew up in.

There are just under eight weeks until election day.