A slew of last minutes entries into the election race has pushed the number of candidates standing in Taranaki's four electorates to 22.
Six each are standing for New Plymouth, Taranaki King-Country and Whanganui while four are fighting for Maori electorate Te Tai Hauauru. In 2011 there were a total of 21 candidates and there are a large number of familiar faces this time around.
In New Plymouth the real contest is the same as three years ago with incumbent National MP Jonathan Young's main challenger being senior Labour Party MP Andrew Little.
They will once again be joined by Jamie Dombroski of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party but he is more distraction than threat, securing just 439 votes in 2011.
There are three newcomers. Outspoken fracking protester Sarah Roberts is gunning for party votes for the Greens, ACT has put up the fresh-faced 25-year-old James Gray while the Conservatives have put forward their members manager Angela Storr.
As of yesterday afternoon Storr had not confirmed if she would even visit New Plymouth for the election.
In Whanganui three-term incumbent National MP Chester Borrows has a serious challenger in Whanganui Deputy Mayor Hamish McDouall.
This will be the Labour Party candidate's third tilt at Borrows, who won with a 5046 majority in 2011.
Both Alan Davidson for ACT and Heather Smith for Democrats for Social Credit have returned for another go in the electorate, obviously in it for more than votes having secured just 256 between them in 2011.
Nancy Tuaine will also be running for the seat for the Maori Party and Kim MacIntyre is standing for the Conservatives.
Shane Ardern's departure from Taranaki-King Country has opened the door for Barbara Kuriger to continue the National stranglehold of the electorate.
Labour is putting up Otaki's Penny Gaylor to contest the seat but with their candidates only ever getting six to seven thousand votes even when a Labour government as in power she is there mostly to fly the party flag.
Robert Moore returns for the Greens and Stratford's Grant Keinzley comes in as the Internet Party candidate. Edward Aish is having a crack for the Conservatives and David Espin is standing for Democrats of Social Credit.
Maori electorate Te Tai Hauauru is shaping up as one of the country's most tightly fought electorates as two candidates vie to full the power vacuum left by Tariana Turia's retirement.
Chris McKenzie, her former chief advisor, is hoping to hold the seat for the Maori Party while Labour is challenging with Adrian Rurawhe. A poll carried out in partnership with Maori Television had McKenzie ahead but when accounting for margin of error both candidates look to have about a 30 per cent share of the votes. With a significant proportion undecided the pair are likely to be campaigning until the last minute.
The Green Party's Jack McDonald and Mana's Jordan Winiata are also standing for the seat. Rank outsiders, they could still influence the result by attracting votes away from McKenzie and Rurawhe.
- Taranaki Daily News
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