Politics is hard on families and I respect Holly Walker’s decision to put her family first by deciding to resign.
Her decision to remain as the candidate for Hutt South is somewhat less laudable.
Since Jeanette Fitzsimons lost Coromandel, the Green party hasn’t even pretended to be interested in winning electorates.
I’ve heard their candidates tell meetings to not vote for them, vote for the Labour man or woman, they’re only interested in the party vote.
Like it or not, that’s what MMP allows.
But to have an MP who has stated she will resign from parliament at the end of the term still stand as a candidate in a seat is a new twist of the system.
It’s not unusual to have people stand in seats they can’t win.
Plenty stand in seats for the sake of the party knowing they won’t win nor can they expect to get in on the list. They are taking one for the team in the hope of increasing the party vote.
But this is the first time a list MP who has announced she won’t be in the next parliament still plans to campaign in a seat with the deliberate intent of neither winning it nor returning to parliament.
There are obvious advantages for the party – they have a candidate with profile and the ability to get publicity in a way open to MPs but not so much to a candidate, and who is being paid by the taxpayer.
But what’s in it for the people of Hutt South?
Nothing but another example of MMP’s faults.
The Green Party engineered the early entry of Russel Norman into parliament when he first became co-leader so he could campaign as an MP with the benefits and pay that carried.
That was manipulating the system but at least he was fully intending to be an MP after the next election.
This smells worse than that.
Walker would be paid until the end of the parliamentary term without being a candidate and even if she wasn’t standing in a seat she could still campaign for the party until the election.
So it’s not that there’s any extra cost involved.
It’s more an extra dose of duplicity.
Not trying to win because it’s the party vote that counts is one thing, standing without wanting to win is another.
In the normal course of events a candidate who didn’t expect tow in would be delighted is s/he did but obviously Walker wouldn’t be.
The chances might be slim, and if the good folk of Hutt South catch on to what’s going on, they’ll be even slimmer.
And that’s where she and the party might be being a wee bit too clever.
They might not like the smell of this and decide to give their party votes to a party which stands candidates who genuinely want to be in parliament.