Labour’s abandonment of the provinces is particularly noticeable in the South Island and the dearth of representation has been highlighted by the party’s reshuffle.
The first South Island MP in the line-up is list MP Clayton Cosgrove at number 7.
The next is another list MP Maryan Street at 12 and then West Coast Tasman MP Damien O’Connor at 19.
The party has only two MPs south of Christchurch. One of those, David Clark who is supposed to be well regarded in and outside parliament, has been demoted to 20.
Megan Woods is 24 and the other South Islanders, Ruth Dyson, Clare Curran, and Rino Tirikatene are unranked.
The ODT says that new deputy, and another list MP, David Parker’s links give Labour south cover.
David Parker pledged his loyalty to the South after his election yesterday as deputy leader of the Labour Party.
The election of Mr Parker – a list MP who has a house in Dunedin, visits the city two weekends out of three and still calls the city his base – provides Labour with South coverage to complement Mr Cunliffe’s coverage of the North as MP for New Lynn.
The prime reason for those visits will be to keep contact with his children. That is his business but shouldn’t be confused with political representation.
He might have pledged his loyalty to the south but his actions don’t match his words. He chose to leave Dunedin and stand for Epsom at the last election.
The one before that, 2008, he was the candidate for Waitaki but showed his lack of commitment to that when he conceded the seat at a public meeting a couple of weeks before the election, for which local party members still haven’t forgiven him.
If it gets into government, the party’s anti-growth policies will hit the regions hard and the lack of representation in the senior ranks of the party will make it more difficult for the concerns of the south to be heard.