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PoliticsFebruary 16, 2017

WATCH: The Great Spinoff Mt Albert By-election Candidates’ Debate


Watch an abridged version of The War for Mt Albert By-election Candidates Debate and read why the candidates think you should vote for them.

Last night at Satya Chai Lounge, the most whispered-about bar in Sandringham, The Spinoff held a debate between the three leading candidates in the Mt Albert by-election – Jacinda Ardern of Labour, Julie Anne Genter of the Greens, and Geoff Simmons of the Opportunities Party, moderated by Simon Wilson.

The plan was to stream the whole thing on Facebook, but technical difficulties prevailed (did Mark Zuckerberg read Duncan Greive’s taunting Facebook post?): the feed went down multiple times, and many minutes of lively political debate were lost. Suffice to say, the three candidates agreed that child poverty is bad, public transport is good, and property is both good (people want places to live) and bad (those places are too expensive to buy and rent).

What we managed to successfully stream, and therefore save, we’ve cut together into a TL;DR recap of the evening which you can view below. We apologise for its incompleteness and the dodgy sound towards the end.

If you don’t want to watch the video, but want to know who should get your vote, you’re in luck! To close the event, Simon Wilson asked the candidates to tell you why you should vote for them. Here are their answers in the order they were asked:

Geoff Simmons: Well, in case it’s not already obvious, I’m the only person at this table that’s not already in Parliament, so the question is – if you vote for these guys, who are you really voting for? And also, we are prepared to work with the government of the day, neither of these guys is prepared to do that. So what voice is Mt Albert going to have over the next seven-to-eight months?

Jacinda Ardern: I’ve found over the last little while door knocking, street corner meetings, cafe meet-ups – that Mt Albert is an amazing place to live. But everyone who chooses to make a home here knows that there are things that we could make better. Forty percent of people in this electorate are renting and are experiencing huge rental increases. The median age here is 33, there are people here who want to buy, who want to settle, who want to make a home for themselves. We have to make housing more affordable. And finally, of course, we want good local schools. We want the ability to get around the city. And we want to fix the Mt Albert shops along with the local board. Simple things that are local to people but are really important to building community. That’s all that I’m standing for.

Julie Anne Genter: I’m in parliament because I believe in taking action on climate change and inequality, and the Green Party is a growing global democratic movement which is committed to those outcomes. My personal professional experience in transport and housing makes me a good choice for Mt Albert. I also think Jacinda Ardern is an excellent MP and also a good choice. I think that we need to be thinking about the long-term, and what we want for the long-term of Auckland. And we need to ensure that younger people are having a voice and that we’re planning for more than just the next three years. So, whoever you vote for, I really encourage you to have a say, make sure your voice is heard because democracy needs you.

There you go. If you live in the Mt Albert electorate, go vote on 25 February!

In planning the debate, we made the difficult decision to invite only these three candidates. If you’re a candidate in the by-election and would like to answer Simon’s question as to why people should vote for you, send a statement under 150 words to and we’ll add it to this post.

Keep going!