Does the average voter understand or care about party lists?
I suspect not.
So why isn’t Phil Twyford seeking the candidacy for Mount Albert?
It is because the Labour leadership paniced panicked and as Matt McCarten says:
What is disheartening is that Labour’s action wasn’t from a place of principled strategy but the result of hysteria generated by their political opponents.
Because of that, what should have been a clean succession of the obvious successor to Helen Clark has turned into a contest for the candidacy from which their can only be one winner and that immediately creates the possiblity for problems amongst the losers and their followers.
It has allowed people to contemplate the thought that what ought to be a safe Labour seat might be marginal. It has prompted the Greens to stand a strong candidate who will split the vote; and that in turn has led to speculation that National could make this a close race and even, with a strong tail wind and the planets in the right place, win the seat.
National can’t lose from this. There is a slight possibility they could win the seat and there will be no shame at all for the party or its candidate if s/he doesn’t.
The Greens will get the publicity they desperately need.
And Labour has already lost, even if they do hold the seat, because they panicked and Phil Goff failed his first real test of leadership.