Christchurch East by-election, 2013

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Christchurch East by-election, 2013
New Zealand
← 2011 general 30 November 2013 (2013-11-30) 2014 general →
Turnout 13,726
  Poto Williams, 2013.jpg
Candidate Poto Williams Matthew Doocey
Party Labour National
Popular vote 8,414 3,577
Percentage 61.30 26.06

Christchurch east electorate 2008.png
Christchurch East electorate boundaries used for the by-election

MP before election

Lianne Dalziel

Elected MP

Poto Williams

A by-election was held in the New Zealand electorate of Christchurch East on 30 November 2013.[1] The seat was vacated following the resignation of Lianne Dalziel of the Labour Party from parliament, who contested and won the Christchurch mayoralty in October 2013.

The electorate is regarded as a safe Labour seat; the party has, apart from the 50-year gap when the electorate was abolished, held the electorate since the 1922 election, although significant population changes since the 2011 Christchurch earthquake had made this allegiance to Labour less certain. Prior to the election, National's top party official in Canterbury had conceded that the by-election was "very, very hard for [National] to win". The by-election was won by Labour's Poto Williams, who prior to her selection as Labour's candidate was virtually unknown.


Following months of speculation, The Press reported on 20 April 2013 that Lianne Dalziel would challenge Bob Parker for the Christchurch mayoralty.[2] On 19 June Dalziel formally confirmed that she would contest the mayoralty, also announcing that she would resign from Parliament, which would cause a by-election in the Christchurch East electorate.[3] Dalziel's resignation took effect on 11 October, the day before the announcement of the mayoralty election-results.[4]


Ten candidates were nominated.[5]

Poto Williams (Labour)[edit]

The Labour Party nominated Poto Williams for the by-election.[6] In a surprise move, the now former Labour leader David Shearer appointed former MP Jim Anderton as the party's by-election campaign manager.[7] Anderton, who was first elected to Parliament in 1984 for Labour in Sydenham,[8] left the party in 1989 over policy differences and, until his retirement as MP in 2011, led his own parties (the NewLabour Party and Jim Anderton's Progressive Party).[7][9] The Labour Party nomination process started in August and Deon Swiggs was the first person to declare his candidacy. Swiggs, a 26-year-old who developed a profile following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, has been a Labour supporter since age 15.[10] A day later, James Caygill confirmed his candidacy to represent the Labour Party. He is the son of former Minister of Finance David Caygill.[11] The third person to join the Labour candidacy race was Tina Lomax, who is the principal of Kingslea School and who, from 2004 to 2010, was a Burwood-Pegasus Community Board member.[12] Karen Hayes is a registered nurse and midwife, Christina Laalaai-Tausa is a PhD candidate at the University of Canterbury, and the sixth candidate was Poto Williams, the regional manager of St John of God Hauora Trust.[13] Clayton Cosgrove, an existing list MP who had lost the Waimakariri electorate to National's Kate Wilkinson at the last election, had considered standing in the by-election, but in the end decided not to put his name forward for the Labour nomination.[14]

Matthew Doocey (National)[edit]

The National Party nominated political newcomer Matthew Doocey for the by-election, who is a manager for the Canterbury District Health Board.[15] The party's Canterbury Westland Regional Chair, Roger Bridge, noted that a sitting government has never won a by-election in an electorate that it did not already hold.[16] Bridge later conceded that it would be "very, very hard for us to win".[17] When Kate Wilkinson, National MP for the Waimakariri electorate, announced in early November 2013 that she would retire at the end of the term of the 50th Parliament, rumours immediately surfaced that Doocey is going to replace her as the candidate in the Waimakariri electorate, and the Christchurch East by-election is for him to gain experience in contesting an election.[18][19]

Doocey is a member of the well-known Carter family. Family patriarch Maurice Carter, a Christchurch City Councillor for over 40 years (1956–1989), was his grandfather, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, David Carter, is his uncle.[18] Doocey grew up in Christchurch and attended St Bede's College for his secondary schooling. The Dooceys bought their current home in Redwood, which currently falls into the Waimakariri electorate, in April 2011.[20]

David Moorhouse (Green)[edit]

The Green Party nominated software developer David Moorhouse for the by-election.[21][22] He stood for the party in Christchurch Central electorate at the 2011 general election.[23]

Other candidates[edit]

ACT Party

Gareth Veale was the candidate for the ACT Party.[5] Veale is a 24-year-old earthquake claims specialist whose campaign is focusing on issues of crime and property rights.[24]

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party

Paula Lambert was the candidate for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party.[5]

Conservative Party

The Conservative Party nominated Leighton Baker, a future leader of the party.[25][26]

Democrats for Social Credit

The Democrats for Social Credit nominated Jenner Lichtwark, a novelist.[27]


Three people were contesting the by-election as independent candidates. One, Adam Holland, previously contested the Ikaroa-Rāwhiti by-election, and says that he will be running on "a platform of donating the entirety of my parliamentary salary to the region".[28] The other independent candidates are Ian Gaskin and Sam Park.[5][29]

Blair Anderson, a former deputy leader of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party,[30] considered standing as an independent,[27] but did not put a nomination forward.[5] He had previously stood unsuccessfully for the Christchurch mayoralty on several occasions.[31][32][33][34]


The following table shows the final results of the by-election:[35]

Christchurch East by-election, 2013

Notes: Blue background denotes the winner of the by-election.
Pink background denotes a candidate elected from their party list prior to the by-election.
Yellow background denotes the winner of the by-election, who was a list MP prior to the by-election.
A Green tickY or Red XN denotes status of any incumbent, win or lose respectively.

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Poto Williams 8,414 61.39 +5.86
National Matthew Doocey 3,577 26.10 -10.40
Green David Moorhouse 954 6.96 +2.15
Conservative Leighton Baker 494 3.60 +1.74
Independent Sam Park 78 0.57 +0.57
Legalise Cannabis Paula Lambert 59 0.43 -0.48
ACT Gareth Veale 58 0.42 +0.42
Independent Adam Holland 31 0.23 +0.23
Independent Ian Gaskin 20 0.15 +0.15
Democrats Jenner Lichtwark 20 0.15 +0.15
Total Valid votes 13,705
Informal votes 21 0.15 -1.63
Turnout 13,726
Labour hold Majority 4,837 35.29 +16.25


  1. ^ Wong, Simon (30 September 2013). "Date set for Christchurch East by-election". 3 News NZ. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  2. ^ "Dalziel invites Johnson to join mayoral race". The Press. Christchurch. 20 April 2013. p. A1. Archived from the original on 27 October 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  3. ^ Cairns, Lois (19 June 2013). "Heavyweights fight for city". The Press. p. A1. Archived from the original on 27 October 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  4. ^ Cairns, Lois (19 July 2013). "Dalziel formally enters mayoralty race". The Press. Archived from the original on 27 October 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Conway, Glenn (5 November 2013). "Candidates named for Christchurch East". The Press. Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "Labour selects Christchurch East candidate". 3 News. 21 September 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Conway, Glenn (28 August 2013). "Anderton back in politics". The Press. Christchurch. p. A5. 
  8. ^ Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. p. 180. OCLC 154283103. 
  9. ^ "Today in politics: Thursday, August 22". The Dominion Post. 22 August 2013. Archived from the original on 27 October 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  10. ^ Young, Rachel (26 August 2013). "Deon Swiggs to challenge Dalziel seat". The Press. p. A5. Archived from the original on 27 October 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  11. ^ Conway, Glenn (27 August 2013). "Caygill Jr aiming for Beehive". The Press. p. A2. Archived from the original on 27 October 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  12. ^ Stylianou, Georgina (2 September 2013). "Principal eyes up Dalziel's seat". The Press. p. A3. Archived from the original on 27 October 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2013. 
  13. ^ Rutherford, Hamish (8 September 2013). "Six seek Lianne Dalziel's Labour spot". The Press. Archived from the original on 27 October 2013. Retrieved 13 September 2013. 
  14. ^ "Cosgrove not standing for Christchurch East". The Press. 6 September 2013. p. A5. 
  15. ^ "National's Christchurch East candidate named". The Press. 12 September 2013. p. A3. Archived from the original on 27 October 2013. Retrieved 13 September 2013. 
  16. ^ "National opens nominations for Christchurch East By-election". New Zealand National Party. Retrieved 13 September 2013. 
  17. ^ "'Realistic' Nats reject by-election hopes". The Press. 23 October 2013. p. A9. 
  18. ^ a b Conway, Glenn (8 November 2013). "Wilkinson to fall on her sword". The Press. p. A7. 
  19. ^ Conway, Glenn (8 November 2013). "Canterbury MP Kate Wilkinson quits". The Press. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  20. ^ "Chch East candidate: Matthew Doocey". The Press. 16 November 2013. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  21. ^ "David Moorhouse". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  22. ^ Conway, Glenn (1 October 2013). "Greens name Christchurch East candidate". The Press. p. A4. Archived from the original on 27 October 2013. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  23. ^ "Green's candidate says he'll help locals". MSN NZ. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  24. ^ ACT New Zealand. "Christchurch East By-Election". Retrieved 23 November 2013. 
  25. ^ "Conservative Party targets NZ First faithful". The New Zealand Herald. 27 October 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  26. ^ "New Leader for the Conservative Party". 2017. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  27. ^ a b "DSC selects Lichtwark for Christchurch East" (Press release). New Zealand Democratic Party for Social Credit. 24 September 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  28. ^ "Christchurch East By Election Candidacy Announcement" (Press release). Adam Holland. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  29. ^ Christchurch East By-election Candidates Announced, 5 November 2013
  30. ^ "Bring on the challengers, says Dalziel". The Press. 8 July 2013. Archived from the original on 27 October 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  31. ^ Robertson, Max (20 October 2004). "Declaration of Results of Elections" (PDF). Christchurch City Council. Retrieved 18 August 2013. 
  32. ^ Robertson, Max (17 October 2007). "2007 Local Government Elections" (PDF). Christchurch City Council. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  33. ^ Sullivan, Clare (14 October 2010). "2010 Triennial Elections" (PDF). Christchurch City Council. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  34. ^ "Your 2013 Nominations". Christchurch City Council. Retrieved 12 September 2013. 
  35. ^ "Christchurch East By-Election Official Results". Electoral Commission. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2013.