The by-election was contested by all major parties. It was won by Shane Ardern, a member of Bolger's National Party, although Ardern gained a majority of only 988 votes. (In the 1996 general election Bolger had a majority of 10,223, or 37.37% in this seat.) Surprisingly, second place was won by Owen Jennings of the ACT party, a small party that promotes economic deregulation and other laissez-faire economic policies. The Labour Party, National's traditional opponent, was pushed back into third place. The Alliance, a left-wing party, gained fourth place. Some distance behind these four were Christian Heritage, New Zealand First, and the Greens, all with similar numbers of votes. They were followed by a group of minor parties and independents.