If no publicity is bad publicity, Damien O’Conner has had a very good week.
Instead of accepting a list place which was unlikely to lead to a seat in parliament or quietly opting out of the list he chose to make a fuss which would get him noticed.
His remarks about Labour being dominated by a gaggle of gays and some self-serving unionists have got him extensive coverage in papers, on radio, television and the internet.
But what he said says a lot about him and his relationship with the Labour Party which the West Coast-Tasman voters he was supposedly trying to appeal to would do well to think carefully about.
Good electorate MPs work hard for their constituents, go many extra miles on their behalves and will do all they can to advocate for them. But good MPs also know the importance of collegial support and of picking their fights carefully because no matter what they do, they are able to achieve little if they’re isolated from their caucus colleagues and party.
O’Conner’s reaction to the list place he’d have been offered had he not opted out of it shows that he has a much higher opinion of himself than his party does and their views will be even less favourable now.
That leaves West Coast-Tasman voters with a clear choice. They can vote for Chris Auchinvole who won the seat from O’Conner in 2005, has the respect of his fellow MPs and party and, on current polls, is more likely to be in government.
Or they can opt for the maverick they rejected three years ago who has set fire to the bridge between himself and his party and, given the trend of polls, is more likely to be in opposition.
It’s better for an electorate to have a government MP and while being represented by a maverick might get their MP and issues noticed it is unlikely to get them sorted.
The man who can get things done or the one who can just talk about it? No contest.