11 Jun 2018

National holds on to Northcote seat

11:04 am on 11 June 2018

National's Dan Bidois has won the Northcote by-election by a margin of more than 1300 votes over Labour candidate Shanan Halbert.

Dan Bidois with mum Leah Bidois.

Dan Bidois with mum Leah Bidois. Photo: RNZ / Gia Garrick

With 100 percent of the vote counted, Mr Bidois is on 10,147 votes, and Shanan Halbert 8,785.

The Northcote seat was vacated when long-time National MP Jonathan Coleman resigned from Parliament to head a private healthcare company, Acurity Health Group. He did so just six months after being re-elected to the role.

Mr Bidois' win means National will remain the largest singular party in Parliament, with 56 seats, making themselves a formidable opposition for the remaining two and a half years of the term.

Mr Bidois arrived at the National by-election night party, having already received a concession call from Labour candidate, Mr Halbert.

"Well the people of Northcote have spoken and they have said loud and clear that they want a fighter for Northcote and I'm proud to say that I've been a fighter all my life and now I get the opportunity to be a fighter for the people of Northcote."

Shanan Halbert at the Labour Party camp at Backyard Bar in Northcote.

Shanan Halbert at the Labour Party camp at Backyard Bar in Northcote. Photo: RNZ / Gia Garrick

This evening's result has the gap between the two top candidates at 1362 votes, which is a nearly 5,000 vote improvement on Mr Halbert's result against Dr Coleman at the 2017 General Election.

However accounting for a lower voter turnout, National pulled in around the same percentage of the votes as it did at the last election - 52 percent.

Many Green Party voters opted for Labour this time around, bolstering Mr Halbert's vote.

The Green Party's Rebekah Juang and the ACT Party's Stephen Berry came in at 579 and 157 votes respectively.

Internal polls heading in to the by-election showed very different stories, with Labour's targeted polls indicating a two point gap between the candidates.

National's internal polling had the gap much wider, at eight points, and was much closer to the final result.

National supporters at Northcote Rugby Club.

National supporters at Northcote Rugby Club. Photo: RNZ / Gia Garrick