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Meet the three women vying to represent Auckland Central after Nikki Kaye's departure

Auckland Central is looking to be an electorate to watch this election, with three strong female candidates vying for the top spot as National's Nikki Kaye departs.

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It’s up for grabs after longtime MP Nikki Kaye resigned last month, and there’s a lot riding on it. Source: 1 NEWS

The National Party announced last night that Emma Mellow will be the new candidate for the electorate, facing off against Helen White from Labour, who narrowly came in second to Ms Kaye in 2017, and high-profile Green Party list MP Chlöe Swarbrick.

Newcomer Emma Mellow was out and about in Auckland today with her "friend and mentor" Nikki Kaye, going into businesses and talking with central Auckland locals.

Emma Mellow of the National Party, who is running for election in Auckland Central. Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Mellow admitted it's going to be "a tight race", with her first hoarding just going up today, but she plans to meet as many people in the electorate as possible and tell them what she's all about.

"I'm a young liberal female living in Auckland central - but most importantly, I'm part of an amazing machine led by Judith Collins and the National Party," Ms Mellow said.

"I'm going to be running the strongest ground campaign and I've seen Nikki do that successfully for four elections and I'll be working the hardest I ever have."

Ms Mellow didn't want to talk about Ms Kaye's recent ill-fated foray into party leadership, saying "it is behind us now - it is a matter for the National Party and I'm really thrilled that they chose me".

She said her nine years of experience in a commercial background and losing her mother at a young age gives her a unique insight into the needs of central Aucklanders, and the resilience needed by businesses during tough times.

"I'll be talking about National's strong plan for the economy under Judith Collins and our strong team."

Helen White of the Labour Party, who is running for election in Auckland Central. Source: 1 NEWS

Meanwhile, Labour's candidate, employment lawyer Helen White, says her proximity to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is her strongest point, as it allows her to take the issues of the electorate to the very highest level.

"I grew up in Ponsonby. My family came there in 1971 and I absolutely know and love the place where I've lived, and that's a really good start," Ms White said.

"I also work as an employment lawyer and that's given me quite a lot of insight into what's going on for people - people's jobs are so important and it means I know what's going on for small businesses and for workers.

"It also means I connect with people - that's a really natural thing for me - just to make those kinds of connections with people and help fix their problems."

Ms White said being the MP is "actually about serving everybody in that community - and that is what I know I can do well.

In terms of issues she found important, she said good public transport, tackling homelessness and maintaining a strong health care system were top of the list.

"Right now for Auckland Central, it's a really challenging time - some things got neglected for a long time and they actually need fixing and there are lots of good plans and it's really important we have a voice in Government asking for the assistance we need.

"The best person to do that is me because I'm part of the Labour Party and I can go to people like Jacinda who know and love Auckland Central and really put a good case for support for the community."

Chloe Swarbrick of the Green Party, who is running for election in Auckland Central. Source: 1 NEWS

However, the Green Party is looking to "turn electorate green" next month, with Ms Swarbrick also contending the spot.

The Auckland Central electorate includes both Waiheke and Great Barrier islands, and Ms Swarbrick said she was impressed at a recent meeting on Barrier Island with how many people knew who she was.

"We had a public meeting and we had 50 to 60 people turn out, which is around 10 per cent of the population, which is pretty damn good for a rural island!" Ms Swarbrick said.

"We're getting the same kind of name recognition and people recognising actually what I've done and why I'm there and why I'm standing for our community.

"That hopefully demonstrates that people recognise what I've done, and what I can do as the representative."

Ms Swarbrick said she lives in the electorate and is passionate about being its representative in Parliament.

She pointed to her recent work with the Green Party on issues such as mental health, addiction, homelessness and student accommodation as reasons why voters might want to consider giving her their tick.

"I believe I have the dedication, I have the track record and I live here," she said.

"I love it here. I've run small businesses here - this is my home and I hope to represent it."

Source: NZ Parliament website