Wairarapa has been named as one of five provincial seats Labour is confident of winning at next year's general election.

Labour leader David Cunliffe has nominated Wairarapa, Wanganui, Napier, New Plymouth and Te Tai Hauauru as the party's prime provincial targets.

His statement came on the same day aspiring Labour candidate for Wairarapa Kieran McAnulty officially entered the race for the party's nomination but Mr McAnulty said, that aside, he expects he will face challenges from others.

Nominations for the Labour candidacy close on December 6 and the Wairarapa candidate is expected to be named by December 18.


Mr McAnulty said yesterday should he be the candidate, he would relish pitting himself against any person National chose to put forward.

Incumbent MP John Hayes has a majority of more than 7000 but is facing a challenge for the National nomination from vineyard owner and businessman Alastair Scott.

Mr McAnulty said it was immaterial to him who he would go up against.

"I'm happy either way.

"The unpopularity of the sitting MP can't be under-estimated and the alternative National candidate doesn't even live in the electorate.

"When film-maker James Cameron bought dairy farms in Wairarapa there was a hoo-ha, but at least he lives here."

Mr McAnulty said another factor that could work in Labour's favour is that looming boundary changes could hive off part of the northern section of the Wairarapa electorate which has traditionally been a National stronghold.

"It is also John Hayes' hiding ground," Mr McAnulty said.

He said although a majority for National of more than 7000 sounds formidable only half that number of votes need to change hands for Labour to win.

With the expected swing to Labour, and boundary changes, that is achievable, Mr McAnulty said.

In the other provincial seats Cunliffe has nominated as poised "to go red", Napier is expected to be contested by a great-grandson of the late Prime Minister Walter Nash.

Stuart Nash is a former Labour list MP.

The likely candidate for New Plymouth is Andrew Little who is a current list MP and in Te Tai Hauauru the Labour Party expects to unseat Maori Party MP Tariana Turia, partly based on the fact the seat is the base of the Ratana Church.