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Labour Names David Shearer As Mt Albert Candidate

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
David Shearer
David Shearer

Wellington, May 3 NZPA - Labour has named David Shearer as its candidate for the Mt Albert by-election.

The by-election to fill the seat left vacant by former Prime Minister Helen Clark, who held it for 27 years, takes place on June 13.

Mr Shearer has previously been a Labour candidate and was an adviser to party leader Phil Goff when Mr Goff was foreign minister.

His most recent job was working in Iraq as a senior UN official.

Labour President Andrew Little said close to 200 party members filled the Mt Albert Grammar School Hall to decide which of eight nominees to select.

"I am sure that David will work hard to win the by-election on June 13. Labour will campaign hard and will take nothing for granted," Mr Little said.

Miss Clark held the seat with a 10,350 majority but Labour's lead over National in the party vote was only 2426 in last year's general election.

Mr Shearer said he was honoured to win the nomination.

"This by-election will be fought on local issues that matter to the people of Mt Albert such as the Waterview Tunnel, fighting National's plans to force through its Super City changes, and improving public transport," he said

"I am committed to being a strong representative for the people of Mt Albert."

Mr Shearer has already drawn controversy after right-wing bloggers highlighted a paper he wrote in 1998 arguing that the UN and western governments should consider hiring private military armies -- mercenaries -- for peacekeeping missions.

The view was at odds with leader Phil Goff's position and it provided fodder for opponents.

Prime Minister John Key said Labour was in "a hypocritical position" because it claimed during last year's election campaign that National had a secret privatisation agenda.

"Their new poster boy for Mt Albert wants to privatise the army," Mr Key said.

The Labour selection process has been in the news -- firstly when List MP Phil Twyford did not stand -- adding fuel to speculation the move to select a non-list candidate is designed to prevent "old faces" on the list, such as Judith Tizard, returning to Parliament as the party continues its rejuvenation efforts.

Also some have argued Mr Shearer's selection has come at the expense of local candidates.

National was expected to name list MP Melissa Lee tomorrow night after its selection meeting.

The ACT Party yesterday said list MP John Boscawen was its candidate.

Co-leader of the Green Party Russel Norman is also standing, and may take a share of left-wing vote off Labour.

There are also several non-Parliamentary party candidates and independents.

Nominations have to be in by May 19.

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