Gareth Morgan's Opportunities Party has announced it will contest the Mt Albert by-election - but the party founder will not run.

Instead, the newly formed party has put forward its chief of staff, Geoff Simmons, to contest the seat.

Simmons is an economist who has worked for the Morgan Foundation. Simmons lives in Wellington but he grew up in Auckland, he went to Avondale College and his parents live in the electorate.

Announcing the candidate this morning outside the Mt Albert War Memorial Hall, Morgan said Simmons would be the "thorn between two roses" - a reference to Labour MP Jacinda Ardern and Green MP Julie Anne Genter, who are also running.


He also said competing against Labour and the Greens would be a "David and Goliath" battle because they were well-funded and established parties.

Morgan said he was surprised National had decided not to field a candidate when just over 10,000 people had voted in the 2014 election for a National candidate and more than 14,000 had given National their party vote.

"Yet the Nats are saying, 'nah, can't be fagged doing anything for the people of Mt Albert between now and election day. It looks like they just don't care or whatever or they've been around so long it is not important to them apparently."

Morgan said Labour and the Greens were meant to be "sisters-in-arms" but were constructing a pretence to compete to represent Mt Albert.

They were both already in Parliament so if one of them won, it would bring in another list MP for her party.

Simmons told the news media today that the events of 2016 and the cricket result against Australia on Monday night showed "there is no such thing as a foregone conclusion."

"Everything is up for grabs. There is no such thing as a safe seat any more."

The Opportunities Party offered "a new path based on truth, transparency and what works."

He was interested in having a prosperous city that could also take care of its people.

The "old dialogue" between Left and Right suggested it was either jobs and business or look after people and the environment.

"TOP doesn't not buy into that conversation at all. There are win-wins out there. We can have it all, but we have got to be prepared to challenge the status quo.

"At its core, really what TOP is about is business with heart."

The issues that interested him were spiralling house prices and rents were locking young people out of the housing market, the increasing gap between the rich and that poor, infrastructure under strain from population growth.

"And we've got sewage in our swimming spots, raw sewage. Firstly, ew! Secondly how are we supposed to lecture farmers that they should clean up their act if we can't do it in our largest city?"

Nominations for the February 25 by-election close today. Other confirmed candidates are independent Penny Bright and Socialist Aotearoa candidate Joe Carolan, formerly of Mana Movement.

Morgan formed the Opportunities Party late last year, and is aiming to meet the 5 per cent party vote threshold to enter Parliament.

He initially said he would not run candidates in electorates but has more recently said he has had approaches from people wanting to represent the party across the country.

Former Labour MP David Shearer held the seat with a 10,656 majority in 2014 but resigned in December to head the UN Mission in South Sudan.