Labour is ranking its party list this weekend and Christchurch East MP Lianne Dalziel has opted out of it.
“I came to the conclusion that if I wasn’t re-elected by the people of Christchurch East I wouldn’t want to be a member of Parliament. I wouldn’t want to be anything other than the MP for this area, especially now with the challenge we’ve got.” She said she had not enjoyed being a list MP because the connection with her constituents was not as close.
Why would a senior MP opt out of the list?
She is right that list MPs don’t have as close a connection with constituents as electorate MPs do but is this an admission she’s at risk of losing her seat?
That is the only way she would be in danger of reverting back to being a list MP.
Lianne received 20,969 votes and Labour got 18,893 votes in 2005. National’s candidate David Round got the support of 8,996 people and the party got 9,851 votes.
In 2008 she won the seat with 17,969 votes from National candidate Aaron Gilmore who gained 12,204 votes. Labour received 15,585 party votes and National gained 12,289 party votes.
The trend is down but a 5,000 majority would hardly be called marginal.
Does opting out of the list mean she’s expecting a demotion this time and wants to avoid that? She was 26th in 2005 and 15th in 2008.
Standing for the electorate only without the protection of a reasonably high list place gives her the opportunity to tell voters the electorate vote is the only way she’ll be returned to parliament.
But it’s the party vote that counts. A candidate who is standing for both electorate and on the list can say, ask for both but tell voters if they’re going to split their vote it’s they should give her/his party the tick.
A candidate who will only get in by winning an electorate is hardly likely to give that message.
Manakau East MP Ross Robertson has also opted out of the list, as he has done before.