With Nikki Kaye stepping down, Auckland Central is in play.
Normally I’m a numbers guy, and the numbers here don’t in any way suggest a Chloe play in Auckland Central.
Nikki won 2017 with 13,198, Helen White (Labour) won 11 617 and Denise Roche (Green) took 2838 votes.
On those numbers, any suggestion Chloe should run hard seem absurd, but dig deeper and i would argue there is another story here.
Firstly, Denise wasn’t a candidate, she was a ‘wonderful person’, you know, in the way Marian Hobbes was a ‘wonderful person’.
In short, the Greens haven’t had a bloody candidate in Auckland Central since Nandor in 2005, so replace Denise with someone like Chloe and all bets are off.
If a virtual nobody like Helen White can gain 11 000 votes, someone with an actual personality should be able to as well. I say that in the kindest way because I’m sure Helen is lovely, but she’s not in the league of Chloe, and that’s what ultimately makes this a bigger issue to consider than the straight numbers.
It’s Chloe herself as a candidate.
There are very few politicians on the Left who are recognisably popular, Chloe and Jacinda are really the only ones. Chloe is a unique candidate whose talent, ability and bewilderingly popularity on social media cements her as a future leader of the Greens, and probably the only possible saviour of it if it slumps to lower than their 2017 result.
The Auckland Central electorate like to think of themselves as special. Sustainability matters to them and so does gender equity. There’s a lot of bikes, a lot of apartments and lot of young folk living their best lives. Chloe’s optimism, her emotional intelligence and ability to articulate complex policy ideas into understandable bite sized chunks are combos that point to a political legacy in the making.
The one way you win Auckland Central is the way Nikki Kaye took it from Judith Tizard, you door knock and door knock and door knock. Chloe has been doing that.
For the Greens this matters. While Roy Morgan gave them a surreal 9%, everyone else is far closer to the 5% threshold. Chloe winning Auckland Central might be the only way they get back if things get close on that 5%.
Chloe is an exceptional politician and a future leader of the Party. If there is anyone who can pull off a shock result here, it’s Chloe.
Auckland Central joins Northland, Tāmaki Makaurau, Te Tai Hauauru and the new electorate of Takanini as 5 bell weather electorates who’ll be crucial to keep your eyes on for election night as each has an ability to change the shape of the Government.
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