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Political Animal_1407Nicky Wag­n­er (Nation­al, Christ­ch­urch Central)

Thanks to Maurice Wil­li­am­son, this pre­vi­ously unher­al­ded MP finds her­self Asso­ci­ate Min­is­ter of Con­ser­va­tion and Can­ter­bury Earth­quake Recov­ery, finally get­ting her some trac­tion. Best known for beat­ing Brendan Burns (which would make a great film title) by 47 votes and break­ing one of Labour’s fort­ress elect­or­ates. Only Paula Bennett’s legendary mar­gin of nine was smaller.

Often mis­taken for crick­eter Neil Wag­n­er, due to her name and pos­i­tion as a sup­port­ing play­er, she declared Christ­ch­urch Cent­ral unwinnable this year after bound­ary changes. But she’ll con­test it any­way since Labour’s selec­tion com­mit­tee has tossed up the untried Tony Mil­ne (fact: not actu­ally 14 years old). If Wag­n­er holds on, she can safely sell the film rights to an epic polit­ic­al heist.


Jerome Mika (Labour, Papakura)

2011 saw J‑Mika crushed by ‘Ol’ Steel Eye­brows’ (9,890 votes — ouch), but 2014 has revealed that Collins’ Kry­pon­ite is only lactose. Jer­mizzle Mikizzle throws out street talk like ‘The Bash’ but can match ‘Thatchizzle-litizzle’ in oratory and will win Twit­ter debates by default. Still, can he out-strategizzle her?

Labour’s hit the ground run­ning on grass­roots cam­paign­ing, which is way bet­ter than their usu­al tac­tic of just hit­ting the ground. Collins is in a slump and a 10,000-vote swing is some­thing that usu­ally involves Kev­in Cost­ner and a base­ball, but 2014 has already had its fair share of crazy, and if ‘Bash­er’ can take ‘Crush­er’ it will be one of the great fight-backs.


James Shaw (Greens, Wel­ling­ton Central)

James Shaw is the little MP that could. He came third behind Grant Robertson and Paul Foster-Bell in 2011, although rumour has it that most of Foster-Bell’s num­bers were due to being mis­taken for Robertson. His party pro­moted him into their top ten, mean­ing he’ll no doubt be made fun of by Nation­al MPs if cur­rent polling holds.

It could be that the Greens are try­ing to cement their own Wel­ling­ton fort­ress, espe­cially on the back of LBE (that’s the loc­al body elect­or­ate to those of us who don’t eat this stuff for break­fast, lunch and din­ner — Ed.) res­ults. Or it could be that they’re try­ing to cut their MPs’ travel costs. Most likely it’s a bit of both as Shaw offers sup­port on sus­tain­able eco­nom­ics for Rus­sell Nor­man (who loves third place), which the Greens will push hard in a coali­tion gov­ern­ment. He could steal votes if he gains glasses and loses the cheekbones.


Asenati Lole-Taylor (NZ First)

Asenati Lole-Taylor (or ALT, as she’s known in the music biz) may just be the cra­zi­est MP of Winston’s Crazy 8, but there’s no deny­ing her pas­sion, flair for out­rageous state­ments, and the grow­ing sup­port that Peters is find­ing in the Pacific com­munity. They see him as keep­ing oth­er politi­cians in check, which is as iron­ic as it is tragic.

It’s an under­state­ment that Pasi­fika, more than at any oth­er time, are key voters this year; and Lole-Taylor is an MP who knows how to get atten­tion. She won’t win the fight, but could deliv­er enough energy to Win­stimus Prime for an enter­tain­ing second term.

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