National was taking nothing for granted on the last day of campaigning in the Northcote byelection.

Candidate Dan Bidois was joined by party leader Simon Bridges and a large cast of National MPs for one final push to retain the blue seat.

"We're in this to win," Bridges told reporters, surrounded by East Coast Bays MP Erica Stanford, North Shore MP Maggie Barry, and Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown.

"We're out here right now on the last day making sure we are talking to people, encouraging them to vote. Because turnout is going to be crucial."


Their attempts to win a few last-minute votes was sometimes a tough call.

During a walkabout outside a Birkenhead mall, it was initially difficult to find anyone who actually lived in the area.

"I'm from Queenstown," said one.

"Have a nice day," said Bridges.

"I don't live here," said another.

"Good to meet you, better get on," said Bridges.

There was an awkward moment when the National entourage walked into a completely empty laundromat, leaving Bridges to inspect a few washing machines.

Eventually the laundromat's owner, Kim Chin, turned up.


Kim is voting National because he likes a Government which is cautious with money, he said.

"Simon Bridges, he is good. He inherited Bill English's way of doing things," he said.

But Kim's immediate concern was getting more loading zones put in outside his store: "There is huge demand for parking here. Huge."

Chris Rottenberg, who runs an arts studio in Birkenhead, said he had cast an advance vote for National because he thought they were kinder to small business.

"I believe in universal healthcare and universal education. But that money's got to come from somewhere. And that is likely to cost us."

The walkabout appeared carefully orchestrated to focus on supportive local shopowners - until they reached a Birkenhead patisserie.

"Have you voted?" Bridges asked, while ordering a bacon mini-pizza.

"On the first day," said owner Christopher Ott, before retreating sheepishly to the kitchen. Though he's a National supporter, he admitted he had voted for Labour candidate Shanan Halbert.

"It was 50-50," he said. "But Shanan lives in the area, he's come in here for two or three years. He's a local guy, and you trust him.

"And for now National don't have much power, they can't do anything."

At a press conference on a street corner, Bidois tried to hammer home his campaign messaging.

"I've been a fighter all my life and now I want to be a fighter for Northcote," he said, pointing to his background as a high-school dropout-turned-Fulbright scholar.

But he was momentarily unsettled by a series of questions about his stance on various social issues.

Was he for cannabis legalisation? Yes, for medical purposes. Did he think abortion should be taken out of the Crimes Act? No, the law is working fine, he said. Would he have voted for same-sex marriage? Yes.

Had he ever done drugs? No, he said, before pausing and clarifying that he had not done any Class A drugs.

"I might have tried cannabis but I hated it, never again."

Bridges, after wolfing down his pizza, got things back on track.

"We're feeling good, but we'll see what the turnout is tomorrow," he said.

"I just encourage people to get out and vote."


Stephen Berry – Act Party

Dan Bidois – National

Tricia Cheel – Democrats for Social Credit

Shanan Halbert – Labour

Rebekah Jaung – Green

Kym Koloni – Independent

Jeff Lye – Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party

Liam Walsh – NAP


• 16 voting booths will be open from 9am to 7pm in Beach Haven, Birkdale, Birkenhead, Glenfield, Little Shoal Bay and Northcote.

• A full list of booths is available at or by phoning 0800 36 76 56

• Voters must be enrolled by today – you cannot enrol on voting day.