7 Jun 2018

Watch: Northcote by-election - Bidois v Halbert

7:59 pm on 7 June 2018

Voters in the Auckland electorate of Northcote go to the polls on Saturday to choose their replacement in Parliament for Jonathan Coleman.

Watch National's Dan Bidois and Labour's Shanan Halbert go head to head in a debate:

Polls have indicated it's a close race between National's candidate Dan Bidois and Labour's Shanan Halbert.

Mr Bidois currently works for Foodstuffs as a strategy manager and previously worked as an economist and strategist in New Zealand, Asia and Europe.

He said the key issues he was campaigning on were transport and the regional fuel tax.

Mr Halbert has been selected by Labour to go up against Mr Bidois.

He stood in Northcote at last year's general election, which National's Jonathan Coleman won by more than 6000 votes.

Mr Halbert works at Te Wānaga O Aotearoa, and before that was a policy advisor at Parliament.

He said his main focus is education and employment.

Mr Bidois told Morning Report he was not taking anything for granted in the campaign but his latest polling put him eight percent up ahead of Mr Halbert.

Mr Halbert said his polls had that number at two percent.

Both candidates said they would be working hard to reduce traffic congestion.

Mr Halbert said he was focused on extending the Northern Expressway, as well as ensuring people can walk and cycle across the harbour bridge, upgrading the down town ferry terminal.

Mr Bidois said ferry and bus costs needed to be reduced to make public transport more accessible, and the electorate needed more park-and-ride options for commuters.

Mr Bidois, who moved to the electorate from Epsom after last year's election, said he empathised with people struggling to afford their own homes in the area.

"I haven't been able to afford a deposit, I also have lived overseas for a few years so my desire to own a home is not as great as a lot of Kiwis but that doesn't mean that I don't want to own a home," he said.

Home ownership in the electorate sits at around 50 percent and Mr Bidois said more homes needed to be built.

Mr Halbert, who said he was able to afford a home thanks to KiwiSaver, planned to extend the number of affordable homes scheduled to be built in Northcote from 1200 to 1500.

The Northcote electorate has an Asian population of around 24 percent - Mr Bidois said he was working hard to understand and articulate the issues facing that community.

He said public safety was the number one concern for many of those people, along with the economy and the impact minimum wage would have on small businesses.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs