No place for the faithful?


Labour’s rules state it should have 65 list candidates but it has ranked only 64.

Five sitting MPs have opted not to be on the list and so have at least three candidates who are trying very hard to win an electorate.

There is something in that for them – they will be able to say to voters the electorate vote is the only way they can stay in, or enter, parliament.

But there is also danger in that for Labour.

It’s the party vote that counts and these people will have divided loyalties between campaigning for their own jobs and for the wider good of the party.

That they jumped suggests they knew they wouldn’t get good list places anyway – though if they’re confident of winning electorates that might dent their egos but do no other harm.

Whether they jumped before or after list ranking deliberations doesn’t matter, it’s another sign of internal ructions in the party.

Given that, what puzzles me is why several candidates who are standing in seats they can’t possibly win weren’t included in the party list at all?

Kiwiblog shows 14 candidates unranked.

It’s a thankless task campaigning in an unwinnable seat even if you console yourself that there could be party votes for the picking.

Why then wouldn’t the party dignify them with list placings instead of showing that it appears to have no place for these faithful foot-soldiers and their small teams of volunteers?

Labour’s list


Labour has announced its party list for the 2014 election.

Five sitting MPs Ruth Dyson, Kris Faafoi, Clare Curran, Trevor Mallard and Rino Tirikatene have opted off the list as has Napier candidate Stuart Nash. . .

Did those not on the list step aside voluntarily or did they jump when they learned their plaes?

Hamish Rutherford gives Curran’s  statement:

Dunedin South MP Clare Curran makes a short statement over the phone about withdrawing from the Labour list:
“I made a decision to withdraw from the list. I’m focused on winning Dunedin South for Labour and a hundred per cent committed to campaigning for the party vote. Not just in Dunedin but across the region, Otago-Southland region. And that’s all I’m saying, okay?”

This might be nearer the truth:

Rutherford  also lists the winners and losers:

Winners on the Labour list:
David Clark up from 49 in 2011 to 26 this year
Iain Lees-Galloway from 37 to 24
Loiusa Wall, not placed in 2011 is ranked 12
Chris Hipkins rises from 30 to 9 this year
David Shearer was 31 last time, ranked 13 for 2014
Megan Woods rises from 47 to 20.

Carol Beaumont down from 22 in 2011 to 27 this year
Maryan Street, 7th in 2011 is ranked 15 this year
Phil Goff, leader in 2011 and number 1 in 2011, is ranked 16

Damien O’Connor who rejected a list place three years ago is back – at 22.

Is that a sign he’s back in the fold or that he’s worried about losing his seat to National candidate Maureen Pugh.

Have the people ranking the candidates followed the party’s rules that 45% of caucus should be female?

That can only be determined when the votes are counted.

They have however fallen one short of the 65 list candidates the rules stipulate they should have.

That seems strange when at least two electorate candidates lots – 16 men and 5 women by my count – who are standing in electorates aren’t on the list at all.

Mallard says he chose not to seek a list place:

You’d think he’d understand how MMP works by now.

Everyone who wins a seat will push those who are depending on a list seat further down so unless Mallard loses his seat his not being on the list makes no difference to anyone else on it.

Chris Bishop, National’s candidate will be doing all he can to help him.

On current polling there will be some MPs facing the knowledge their chances of staying in parliament aren’t high and hoping the party does lose some electorates.

The list is:

1 David Cunliffe   2 David Parker   3 Grant Robertson   4 Annette King    5 Jacinda Ardern   6 Nanaia Mahuta   7 Phil Twyford   8 Clayton Cosgrove   9 Chris Hipkins   10 Sue Moroney   11 Andrew Little   12 Louisa Wall   13 David Shearer   14 Su’a William Sio   15 Maryan Street   16 Phil Goff   17 Moana Mackey   18 Kelvin Davis   19 Meka Whaitiri   20 Megan Woods   21 Raymond Huo   22 Damien O’Connor   23 Priyanca Radhakrishnan   24 Iain Lees-Galloway   25 Rachel Jones   26 David Clark   27 Carol Beaumont   28 Poto Williams   29 Carmel Sepuloni   30 Tamati Coffey   31 Jenny Salesa   32 Liz Craig   33 Deborah Russell   34 Willow-Jean Prime   35 Jerome Mika   36 Tony Milne   37 Virginia Andersen   38 Claire Szabo   39 Michael Wood   40 Arena Williams   41 Hamish McDouall   42 Anjum Rahman   43 Sunny Kaushal   44 Christine Greer   45 Penny Gaylor   46 Janette Walker   47 Richard Hills   48 Shanan Halbert   49 Anahila Suisuiki   50 Clare Wilson   51 James Dann   52 Kelly Ellis   53 Corie Haddock   54 Jamie Strange   55 Katie Paul   56 Steven Gibson   57 Chao-Fu Wu   58 Paul Grimshaw   59 Tracey Dorreen   60 Tofik Mamedov   61 Hikiera Toroa   62 Hugh Tyler   63 Susan Elliot   64 Simon Buckingham

Yesterday, this morning, this afternoon . . . .


Labour said it would announce its list yesterday afternoon.

That changed to this morning.

Now former party president Mike Williams has just told Kathryn Ryan that the list will be released at 3pm this afternoon.

The timing isn’t significant the party management is.

One suggestion for the delay was that the party couldn’t handle the list ranking while dealing with the fallout from the Liu donation allegations.

It is just as likely to be a problem with telling MPs and candidates

Whatever the cause for the delay, how can a party that is once again demonstrating problems running one of its most important internal activities smoothly hope to convince voters it can run the country?

Opportunity for renewal missed


Labour has released its full list of candidates for November’s election.

It includes several candidates who have been selected for unwinnable seats very recently and highlights the stupidity of doing its list ranking in April.

When you’re in opposition it is prudent to be prepared if the election date is unknown. But John Key announced in early February that we’d be going to the polls on November 26 which made it safe to rank the list much later.

They not only ranked the list too early they did it badly, missing the opportunity for significant renewal. That’s left them  with far too many of the tired old candidates who are associated with Labour’s failures of the noughties.

They could have learned from National’s mistakes after the 1999 election when too few of the dead wood fell on their swords. Failure to do that leaves them plummeting towards a similar forced clean out to that which National suffered in 2002 and little hope for a significant injection of fresh talent.

National’s list


National Party president Peter Goodfellow is announcing the party’s list for the November election at a media conference which started a couple of minutes ago.

As one of the party’s regional chairs I’m a member of the list ranking committee which spent yesterday on the difficult and demanding task of deciding who went where.

The process is confidential so I will make no comment on the hows and whys of where people are but will copy the list below as soon as it’s public.

1 John Key
2 Bill English
3 Lockwood Smith
4 Gerry Brownlee
5 Tony Ryall
6 Nick Smith
7 Judith Collins
8 Anne Tolley
9 Chris Finlayson
10 David Carter
11 Murray McCully
12 Tim Groser
13 Steven Joyce
14 Paula Bennett
15 Phil Heatley
16 Jonathan Coleman
17 Kate Wilkinson
18 Hekia Parata
19 Maurice Williamson
20 Nathan Guy
21 Craig Foss
22 Chris Tremain
23 Jo Goodhew
24 Lindsay Tisch
25 Eric Roy
26 Paul Hutchison
27 Shane Ardern
28 Amy Adams
29 Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga
30 Simon Bridges
31 Michael Woodhouse
32 Chester Borrows
33 Nikki Kaye
34 Melissa Lee
35 Kanwaljit Bakshi
36 Jian Yang
37 Alfred Ngaro
38 Katrina Shanks
39 Paul Goldsmith
40 Tau Henare
41 Jacqui Dean
42 Nicky Wagner
43 Chris Auchinvole
44 Louise Upston
45 Jonathan Young
46 Jackie Blue
47 Todd McClay
48 Alan Peachey
49 David Bennett
50 Tim Macindoe
51 Cam Calder
52 John Hayes
53 Colin King
54 Aaron Gilmore
55 Jami-Lee Ross
56 Paul Quinn
57 Paul Foster-Bell
58 Maggie Barry
59 Ian McKelvie
60 Mark Mitchell
61 Mike Sabin
62 Scott Simpson
63 Claudette Hauiti
64 Joanne Hayes
65 Leonie Hapeta
66 Sam Collins
67 Jonathan Fletcher
68 Heather Tanner
69 Denise Krum
70 Carolyn O’Fallon
71 Viv Gurrey
72 Karen Rolleston
73 Brett Hudson
74 Linda Cooper
75 Karl Varley

 Update: Kiwiblog has calcluated the party vote percentage which will determine which list canddaitesa re likely to enter, or stay in, parliament.

Departing with dignity


Politicians need confidence and with that can go a fairly high self-regard which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

However, it can be a problem if their assessment of their own ability isn’t shared by other people and that is often demonstrated when parties announce their lists.

The only thing that really matters in a list place is whether or not they’ll be in parliament – and if they’re going to hold or win an electorate then it doesn’t matter at all.

Unfortunately not all candidates see this and take their list place personally, regarding it as a boost or insult to their ego.

It isn’t. It’s the reality of politics and if they feel undervalued they should breathe deeply and take a lesson from Hilary Calvert. She has worked as a volunteer for her party, put herself forward as a candidate in successive elections and disrupted her life to become a very short term MP.

In spite of that, and no doubt with good reason, the Act board decided she wasn’t wanted on the list for the upcoming election.

She could have had a hissy fit but she hasn’t:

Act New Zealand MP Hilary Calvert was philosophical yesterday despite being dumped from the party list for November’s election less than a year after entering Parliament.

“I’m happy and fully supportive of the decisions the board has made.”

Her parliamentary career will be short and hasn’t been stellar.

But at least she’s got the good sense to keep any feeling of being badly done by to herself. 

In doing so she’ll be departing  with her dignity intact and has provided a good example for others to follow.

Candidate selection undemocratic and tardy


Electoral law requires parties to use democratic processes for their list ranking.

The influence of unions in the Labour Party calls into question their adherence to democratic principles at the best of times.

Its selection timing this year raises even more questions.

The party did list ranking in April but still hasn’t completed its candidate selection for some seats.

The Opposition party’s website yesterday had yet to name candidates for Waikato, Taupo, Tauranga and Hunua but following inquiries from the Waikato Times the party confirmed it had received nominations for both the Waikato and Taupo seats, where until now National had the only confirmed contenders.

There is no requirement for electorate candidates to be given list places, but it would be fairer and more democratic to select them in time to give them a choice.

It would also give the impression Labour was properly organised for the election and putting more than a token effort into contesting seats.

Taupo and Waikato are blue seats. But a party that doesn’t want to look inept and does want to remain one of the major ones ought to at least look like it cares about the people in these electorates who might give it their party vote.

Labour’s list woes


In theory the party list should help bring new blood into parliament.

In practice it usually protects sitting MPs already holding list seats or those who might lose their electorates.

The problem is the list has to be ranked while parliament is still sitting and the party faces a conundrum with MPs they regard as past their best-by date. Do they risk putting their noses out of joint and have them with nothing to lose as they finish what they know will be the end of their parliamentary careers, or do they protect them with a list seat?

It doesn’t matter when you’re on an in-coming tide. It was a reasonably safe bet that National would have more MPs after the 2008 election than it had before it. Where someone was on the list might have mattered to egos but it wasn’t going to mean the difference between having another term or not.

Labour wasn’t in such a comfortable position. Sitting MPs lost electorates and took list places which kept fresh blood out and also left it with the problem they’ve faced in filling the seat vacated by Darren Hughes.

The task of ranking the list this coming weekend will be even more difficult because it is possible, perhaps even probable, they will win no new electorates. They might even lose one or more they hold and on present polling they could end up with fewer seats overall.

That means a lower list placing won’t just be a blow to an ego it could signal the end of a parliamentary career.

The debacle of a leadership strengthened only because no-one wants to take it on showed how unstable and fractured Labour’s caucus is. Adding MPs who know once list placings are decided that they have no chance of returning to parliament after the election to the mix will make that worse.

Labouring the list


Party lists are of great importance to the people on them.

That’s understandable for anyone not standing in an electorate, or standing with little or no chance of winning. But even those with safe seats often want a high place for ego’s sake if nothing else.

Those ranking the list labour over them trying to present a line-up which will appeal to voters without disrupting caucus and upsetting non-MP candidates which can be mutually exclusive goals.

But does anyone else, even political tragics, really pay much attention to them?

The lists are made public once they’ve been sorted but unless there is someone who is well known I’d be very surprised if many voters know, or care, about who is on them and in which order.

The only time after an election a list matters is if a list MP jumps or is pushed from parliament when the next person on the list is invited to take his or her place.

Sometimes,  a party has second thoughts about the ranking as Keeping Stock reminds us the Green Party did  when co-leader Russel Norman leapfrogged Catherine Delahunty and Mike Ward to get into parliament before the last election.

When the Labour list was ranked in 2008 the importance of not upsetting sitting MPs must have had at least some bearing but that is now causing them problems.  The next person on the list is former MP Judith Tizard who must be offered the place vacated by Darren Hughes. If she turns it down it’s offered to Mark Burton, Mahara Okeroa, Martin Gallagher and Dave Hereora, all former MPs who, Labour president Andrew Little told Mary Wilson on Checkpoint, will not be on this year’s list.

The next one on the list is Louisa Wall another former MP but one who is standing again.

It is possible that the next five people on Labour’s list won’t want to disrupt their lives to return to parliament for a few months. But, has anyone asked them if they’d like to return for longer? The Labour list has yet to be ranked so if one of the five made the sacrifice they could be offered a place which has the potential to keep them in parliament for the next term.

But from what Little said last night, that isn’t a consideration. Instead it looks like five people will be expected to not take the place which they are entitled to by the law giving a whole new meaning to the term labouring (or should that be Labouring?) the list.

UPDATE: Kiwiblog notes that the five could-be MPs would be turning down 11 months salary if they decline the chance to return to parliament.

Labour’s list ranking


The Labour Party list ranking process is taking place today.

The task will be more difficult than usual because polling suggests Labour could have a smaller caucus after the election than it has now so any new blood will be introduced at the expense of a sitting MP.

Once the list is announced Helen Clark’s job will get harder because she’ll have to be careful of the fragile egos of the MPs whose high opinions of themselves are not reflected by the list ranking.

List ranking


I will be incommunicado for most of today because I’m a member of National’s list ranking committee and we’re meeting to determine who goes where on the party list.

I’ve done a couple of time-dealyed posts which will appear later in the day.

Our deliberations  are of course confidential so I won’t be sharing them with you but it is no secret that we are spoiled for choice with a very high standard of candidates so it won’t be an easy task.

As Tracy Watkins  points out:

The poll comes as a buoyant National prepares to unveil its party list rankings tomorrow and, in a sign of the times, it is preparing to put up a record 73 candidates.

The results will be made public at a press conference tomorrow morning.

There go the principles


Mike Ward has agreed to forgo his right to enter parliament when Nador Tanczos retires shortly so that Green Party co-leader can take his place.

The Herald quotes Norman as saying “Principle has surrendered to politics.”  while attacking Labour at the weekend. What about the principle of party list ranking before elections not between them, is it okay to be expedient about them if it means you’ll get the benefits of campiagning as an MP?

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