It’s the final week for campaigning in the Mt Albert by-election has started. Spy asked the two frontrunners — Labour’s Jacinda Ardern and the Green’s Julie Anne Genter — for their insider’s guide to the electorate.
What is your favourite cafe, bar or restaurant in Mt Albert and why?
Ardern: I live within walking distance of Francesca’s Pizzeria, Mint Cakery and the Tiny Grocer — so pretty much all the food groups in one block.
Genter: Xi’an Foodbar in Mt Albert shops is very cheap and very delicious. It has incredible hand-pulled noodles.
Your favourite things about Mt Albert — parks, people, streets?
Ardern: Hands down the people. I’ve been doing quite a bit of door knocking and people have been nothing but kind, especially on the hot days. Someone even gave me fresh veges from their garden!
Genter: The diversity of the neighbourhoods — from Pt Chev and Grey Lynn to Kingsland and Sandringham — it’s a great collection of character suburbs all with their own charm. I also love using the Northwestern cycleway to head west out of the city, and to get between Pt Chev and Kingsland.
The most romantic part of Mt Albert?
Ardern: I’m told Mt Albert-Owairaka at sunset is lovely. I wouldn’t know though (I may or may not be dropping hints).
Genter: Point Chevalier beach at sunset. Also perfect for a swim at high tide.
Your favourite former MP to serve in Mt Albert and why?
Ardern: You can’t make me play favourites when every MP in Mt Albert has been Labour! I was lucky enough though to work for Helen Clark when she was the MP here, and alongside David Shearer. Both loved this place and left big shoes.
Genter: Helen Clark, she was the local MP (and PM) when I first moved to Morningside. Inspiring woman leader in NZ and the world.
Jacinda, what’s the thing you like best about Julie Anne?
I get on really well with Julie Anne, she’s incredibly smart. Definitely someone I have enjoyed being on the campaign trail with. We’ve even carpooled . . . very on message.
Julie Anne, what’s the thing you like best about Jacinda?
Jacinda is really down to earth and friendly, even though she’s a superstar in Parliament. She articulates her values and passion well in every speech she gives.
What do you think Mt Albert needs that it does not have?
Ardern: Mostly I think it’s just about improving some of the things we have. Affordable housing, better transport links, clean beaches, right down to a regeneration plan for the Mt Albert shops
. . . but it’s coming!
Genter: Modern electric tramways reconnecting Dominion Rd shops, Sandringham shops, Grey Lynn and Point Chev to the city, as they used to be. Lower speed limits around schools and separated cycle lanes on the main roads.