A new poll shows incumbent Auckland Central MP Chlöe Swarbrick is in a close fight to hold the seat with National’s candidate Mahesh Muralidhar nipping at her heels.
The candidates vying for the electorate took to the stage last night in the sixth Taxpayers’ Union election debate.
A new Taxpayers’ Union-Curia poll released moments before the debate began showed the Green Party’s Swarbrick holding onto her seat by a thin margin, but a statistical tie when accounting for the margin of error.
Of the 500 Auckland Central residents polled, 26 per cent said they supported Swarbrick, 24 per cent said they would vote for Muralidhar, while only 12 per cent said they were for Labour’s Oscar Sims.
But 29 per cent of people were still undecided.
STORY CONTINUES AFTER LIVE BLOG
Sims and Act’s Felix Poole, who garnered 1 per cent of support in the September 24 poll, also featured in the debate.
As for the party vote, 30 per cent said they would vote National, 21 per cent Labour and 19 per cent Greens.
There were 17 per cent undecided.
When asked what Auckland Central voters believed the most pressing issue was, law and order was overwhelmingly the most popular response with 33 per cent. The other issues voters were concerned about were the cost of living (9 per cent), housing (9 per cent) and public transport (11 per cent).
This comes after a spate of high-profile crimes in the Auckland CBD, including two people shot dead and 10 others injured at a high-rise construction in July. The shooter, 24-year-old Matu Reid, was also killed during an exchange of gunfire with police.
Mere weeks after this tragedy, two men were gunned down during an altercation on Auckland’s lower Queen St, with the shooter then fleeing the scene on a scooter on August 3. One of the men died, the other was critically injured.
Mahesh Muralidhar, the National Party candidate for Auckland Central, speaking at the debate.
Auckland City has also become a hot spot for ram raids and smash-and-grab-style robberies.
The results come after Monday’s Newshub-Reid Research poll which showed a surge of support for Christopher Luxon for preferred prime minister, but he would need to pick up the phone and call Winston Peters to form a Government.
Labour’s tumble continued in that poll but only slightly - down to 26.5 per cent, a tiny slide of 0.3 points.
National has also fallen slightly, down 1.8 points to 39.1 per cent.
The Green Party rose 1.9 points to 14.2 per cent, one of their best poll performances.
Act fell 1.3 points to 8.8 per cent.
Crucially, New Zealand First is up 1.9 points to 5.2 per cent - enough to enter Parliament.
Geography: Central Auckland from Herne Bay to the Domain, including Eden Terrace, plus Waiheke and Great Barrier islands.
History: Labour stronghold 1919-2008, except 1993 when Sandra Lee won for the Alliance. Nikki Kaye won for National in 2008 and held the seat for four terms. Since Lee, women have always won the seat.
Leading party candidates and their list places: Mahesh Muralidhar (National) 43, Felix Poole (Act) 25, Oscar Sims (Labour) 63, Damian Sycamore (TOP) 8, Chloe Swarbrick (Greens) 3.
Candidate vote: Chloe Swarbrick (G) 36 per cent, Helen White (L) 33 per cent, Emma Mellow (N) 28 per cent. Winning margin: 1068.
Party vote: Labour 46 per cent, National 21 per cent, Greens 19 per cent, Act 8 per cent.
5 things to know about the electorate
- 55 per cent born overseas (highest in NZ).
- Highest proportion in NZ of residents aged 25-34; lowest under 15.
- 39 per cent home ownership (NZ 65 per cent).
- 32 per cent households have no car (NZ 7 per cent).
- 25 per cent have no heating (NZ 4 per cent).
Data: Census, Electoral Commission and NZ Parliament.
Rachel Maher is an Auckland-based reporter who covers breaking news. She has worked for the Herald since 2022.
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