National's candidate for the Mt Albert by-election says she has a chance of winning the seat and will be helped by vote-splitting between Labour and the Greens.

List MP Melissa Lee last night beat Ravi Musuku for the nomination.

Ms Lee said today Labour had held Mt Albert for 63 years and Miss Clark served it well, but there were four new candidates in the by-election.

"Mt Albert voters are spoilt for choice," she said on Radio New Zealand.

"It will be fantastic to get into an electorate and represent the people there."

The Greens are putting up co-leader Russel Norman and Ms Lee said there was going to be "a major split" in the Labour-Greens vote.

"I'm very pleased Russel Norman is means I potentially have a chance," she said.

Morning Report presenter Sean Plunket suggested she was best known for being named as the 52nd most attractive woman politician in the world in an international survey.

"Recognition might be quite good...but the people in Mt Albert are talking about the economy, the crime rate and law and order," she said.

A group of 60 party delegates chose Ms Lee, who last night said she faced a difficult task to win the traditional Labour seat in the June 13 poll.

"I hope I get some leave from Parliament to go door-knocking. For 63 years this seat has been held by Labour ... it will be a hard battle."

Of her Labour opponent, David Shearer, she said: "He has been flown in from Baghdad to Balmoral - I know about New Zealand a little bit better than he does."

If Ms Lee wins the byelection, the next person on National's list, Cam Calder, will enter Parliament.

Ms Lee, a former Asia Downunder TV journalist, is the first Korean woman to be an MP outside Korea.

She said she was relieved and humbled to have won the vote over grassroots toiler Mr Musuku, the Hillsborough Baptist Church pastor.

Mr Musuku fought hard for the nomination, despite not being favoured by the party hierarchy. He said he was "very disappointed" but would help Ms Lee in her campaign. "That is just the way the selection goes. I have worked hard for the last five years. I wish Melissa all the best. She has my support."

He had stood against Helen Clark in the past two elections, increasing the party vote and his personal showing both times.

Maungakiekie MP Sam Lotu-Liga was confident Ms Lee would make a strong challenge for the Mt Albert seat.

"It will be hard work, but she already knows Parliament. She has a strength of character and a wealth of experience and is prepared to knuckle down. And we feel we have the will of the people since November 8."

Labour seized on National Party documents yesterday that called Ms Lee "Mt Albert's list MP", saying this meant a backroom deal was done before last night's selection meeting.

Prime Minister John Key said the fact she was referred to as a list MP meant she was simply the buddy MP for Mt Albert, a system National had in place for other electorates. He would be happy to work with whoever was selected.