By Sarah Robson of RNZ

Labour is adamant it won't be doing a deal with the Greens in the Auckland Central electorate.

The seat is held by National Party's Nikki Kaye, but the contest was thrown open when she announced her departure from politics last week.

Labour's Helen White will be going up against Green MP Chloe Swarbrick, who is campaigning for the party and electorate vote.

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The National Party is yet to select its replacement for Kaye.

White said National won the seat in 2017 by just 1500 votes over Labour.

"The vote was so close for Labour, it just isn't in the same league with regard to the gap that the Greens would have to move," she said.

Given that, White said she was sizing up National as her main opponent in the seat.

Helen White, left, and Chlöe Swarbrick are campaigning for the Auckland Central seat with national set to announce its candidate shortly. Photo / RNZ
Helen White, left, and Chlöe Swarbrick are campaigning for the Auckland Central seat with national set to announce its candidate shortly. Photo / RNZ

The Greens are polling at about 5 or 6per cent, right on the threshold for getting back into parliament.

But regardless of that, White said she wouldn't be making way for Swarbrick in Auckland Central.

"I actually think the Greens will be fine, they've got a solid base and obviously Chloe is way up on that list, so people will firmly expect to see Chloe in parliament."

Asked what she would say to people who pointed out Swarbrick's higher profile and name recognition, White said: "I'd ask them whether they're looking for a celebrity or someone to do this job very seriously."

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At a campaign event in Auckland last night, Labour's national campaign manager Hayden Munro told the crowd the party could not afford to split the progressive vote in the seat.

In 2017, the combined progressive vote in Auckland Central was just over 50 per cent.

"If that vote is split, a National candidate can come through the middle," he said.

The event was also attended by Justice Minister Andrew Little and Labour's Mount Roskill MP Michael Wood.

- RNZ