Aaron Gilmore coy on comeback

VERNON SMALL
Last updated 15:37 24/06/2013
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Kent Blechynden
LOOKING FORWARD: Aaron Gilmore may vie to make a return to politics in the Christchurch East by-election.

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Former National MP Aaron Gilmore is hinting at a return to politics in the Christchurch East seat to be left vacant by Lianne Dalziel's bid for the mayoralty.

On his blog ''Mighty Rocket'' Gilmore, who stood unsuccessfully in the seat in 2008 and 2011, said many locals had asked what he was going to do.

''The answer to that is simple. The by-election is not likely till after Show Week. So good things come to those who wait,'' he said.

After being ''hounded out of public office'' he had ''learnt to hold my cards very closely. Bottomline, I do not want to see Labour hold onto the seat as I do not think that is the best thing for the people''.

Asked about his interest in the seat, Gilmore, who quit Parliament after allegations around a boozy night out in Hanmer Springs, yesterday said: ''I do not want to talk about it any further at the moment.''

But in his blog he pointed to his family's links to the seat and his working class upbringing.

He also argued the seat was not safe for Labour because of the loss of over 12,000 mostly Labour voters since the earthquakes and new housing developments.

''At best they are upper middle swing suburbs,'' he said.

''The biggest populations now are in Parklands, where I grew up, not Aranui.''

National won 13,252 party votes in the seat in 2011 compared to 9100 for Labour.

Labour is casting itself as the under dog in the seat, despite Dalziel's 5334 majority in 2011.

Gilmore said he hoped Labour would choose someone young and local to try and win.

''They will need to campaign well to try and keep the seat.''

Ngai Tahu manager James Caygill and sitting list MP Clayton Cosgrove are seen as front runners to get the nod for Labour.

Caygill yesterday confirmed he would seek the nomination, arguing he represented ''renewal'' for the party.

Cosgrove has refused to confirm or deny his interest, and yesterday did not respond to a request for comment. But he is seen as a strong campaigner and is likely to have Shearer's backing.

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