A United Nations senior advisor who ran Helen Clark’s bid to be secretary-general has returned to New Zealand to campaign for the North Shore seat for Labour.
George Hampton, the son of King’s Counsel and lawyer to the Pike River families Nigel Hampton, is the only nomination for the Auckland seat and will be confirmed as Labour’s candidate at a meeting this weekend.
Hampton’s had a long diplomatic career and was New Zealand’s peace and security expert to the United Nations Security Council when New Zealand was chair. More recently he’s been senior advisor to the UN Secretary-General on sustainable energy.
Back home, he co-owns the Mr Whippy franchise.
Hampton has long had close ties with Labour and his extensive CV is expected to see him land a decent spot on the party list.
As Labour looks to freshen its list with some heavy hitters ahead of the October election, Newsroom understands the party leadership is also in talks with notable tax advisor and senior managing partner at KPMG, Warrick Cleine.
The Ho Chi Minh City-based chairman and chief executive of KPMG in Vietnam and Cambodia holds several senior roles in the region that connect him back to New Zealand.
He’s chair of the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, an advisor to New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, and an honorary advisor to the Asia New Zealand Foundation.
There are a couple of seats still open for selection for Labour currently but Newsroom understands if Cleine does decide to run it’s more likely to be list-only.
He had previously indicated his political aspirations to some in the party at the last election but did not follow through at the time.
If Cleine does decide to join Labour for this year’s campaign, he has just two months to do so.
The Labour Party will finalise its list the last weekend of July and make it public shortly after.
The majority of Labour’s seat selections have been completed but the party’s now undergoing two unplanned selection processes in Napier and Ikaroa-Rāwhiti.
Former minister turned backbencher Stuart Nash announced he wouldn’t contest the Napier seat this year after he was demoted from Cabinet.
Nash had already been selected in Napier so a new process is underway there, and Labour is also on the hunt for a candidate on the East Coast in the Māori electorate of Ikaroa-Rāwhiti.
Meka Whaitiri was expected to run in the seat at the election but dramatically quit the party last week to defect to Te Pāti Māori.