Two of the candidates vying for the Whangarei electoral seat have gone head-to-head in an ebike race.

The challenge was designed to be fun, while highlighting some of Northland's and Whangarei's transport challenges, including cost, convenience, congestion, and environmental and health impacts.

The challenge started at the Onerahi shops this week, and the candidates had to commute into Cameron St mall to collect a token before finishing at the Canopy Bridge.

The distance to cover was 6km, and Green Party candidate Ash Holwell, using his self-built ebike completed the journey in a few seconds under 10 minutes.


Labour candidate Tony Savage also completed the journey on an ebike, taking 22 minutes. The challenge was organised by the Northland Innovation Centre and Northland eBikes. Whangarei's other candidates could not make the event.

Organisers did the journey in a car, electric vehicle and on the bus for comparison. The car and electric vehicle took 25 minutes, and the bus 33 minutes.

Whangarei mayor Sheryl Mai joined Mr Holwell and Mr Savage at the Canopy Bridge with her scooter.

Huanui College's Head Boy and Deputy Head Boy Toby Lengyel and Connor Forbes asked a series of questions, relating both to Whangarei and nationwide. The topics included transport, education, housing and climate change.

Mr Holwell said the Greens were really concrete that rail and coastal shipping are great ways to transport freight. The party wants to have at least 50 per cent of all domestic freight on rail or coastal shipping by 2027.

It was Mr Savage's first time on an ebike. He said at present, the government is preferring roads.

"Our policy is to be neutral. If rail works - we'll put money into rail, if coastal shipping works - we'll put money into coastal shipping, if roads work - we'll put money into roads."

He said Labour would look into rail in Northland.