In the unlikely event Shane Jones wins Labour’s leadership selection he won’t be the first list MP to lead a party.
The Green Party is led by two and NZ First is led by one.
He wouldn’t be the first to lead one of the bigger parties either – Don Brash was a list MP when he led National.
If it hadn’t been for Helen Clark’s desperate and expensive election bribes and the media focussing on the exclusive Brethren’s influence while ignoring the pledge card scandal he might have been Prime Minister.
There are advantages to leading as a list MP. It would enable greater concentration on the leadership without the distraction of an electorate.
But that is also a disadvantage – electorate helps keep MPs grounded and in touch with constituents in a way most list MPs aren’t.
That is one of the reasons that even after more than a decade and a half of MMP list MPs are still regarded as somehow not quite as legitimate as those who represent electorates.
There is no reason a list MP couldn’t become Prime Minister but not having a seat could make it a wee bit harder.