Gilmore predicts Labour victory
Disgraced former Christchurch list MP Aaron Gilmore says National picked the wrong candidate for the Christchurch East by-election campaign and will probably lose badly this weekend.
Just four days before the vote, the man who helped National win the party vote in the electorate at the last election predicted a Labour win.
He said new electorate boundaries should make it National's to lose in next year's general election, but only if the party picked the right person.
That is unlikely to be Gilmore.
However, he said yesterday that he had "huge pressure" to stand as an independent candidate and would not rule out another tilt at politics.
Prime Minister John Key poured cold water on those aspirations yesterday, saying it was "unlikely" Gilmore would stand for National again.
Gilmore resigned from Parliament in May after boozy antics at a Hanmer Springs hotel where he called a waiter a "dickhead" and allegations he misled Key's office about what happened.
In his first interview with The Press since then, Gilmore slated National's by-election campaign, saying it should have picked a candidate with "better local credentials".
He also said he had planned to stand for National in the seat "if all the crap around me hadn't happened".
National's Canterbury-Westland regional chairman, Roger Bridge, declined to comment, as did party officials in Wellington, but Key said the by-election had not finished yet so "it's a little bit early for him to declare judgment".
National had consistently said it would be hard to win regardless of who the candidate was, because the area was a Labour stronghold for some time, Key said.
National's Matthew Doocey had worked hard and done well.
Gilmore said he did not personally know Doocey, but had unsuccessfully tried to contact him "to give him five or 10 minutes of my perspective".
Gilmore, who is still a National Party member, is focusing on his accountancy career and family.
He said National's campaign for the by-election was "not being run right and I don't think the candidate is right".
"They could have won with the right person and the right campaign. The major parties should have selected a well-known, local, successful person to make the result more clear-cut. People are annoyed no good local person put their name up."