Labour MP Ruth Dyson is standing for the Port Hills electorate but isn’t seeking a place on her party’s list.
Dyson has dropped down the Labour Party rankings in a series of reshuffles, from No 5 under former leader Phil Goff in 2011, to recently being demoted by David Cunliffe to 28 (out of 34), behind the likes of Kelvin Davis.
Davis is not yet even an MP but will return to the Capital when Shane Jones leaves Parliament.
Barnett said it was “not unusual” for MPs not to chase list placings. . . .
He was never on the list when he was an MP and Lianne Dalziel didn’t seek a list place three years ago. Nor did Damien O’Connor who objected to the process being run by selection process run by “self-serving unionists and a gaggle of gays”.
Labour’s candidate in Napier, Stuart Nash isn’t seeking a list place this time either.
Dyson’s move was announced at a regional list selection meeting in Christchurch on Sunday, which Barnett said was “relaxed”. He believed the move was tactical, with Port Hills always a tightly contested seat.
“It’s not unusual for somebody in a seat which is going to be a pretty tight, hard race to focus entirely on being an electorate candidate,” Barnett said.
“My sense [speaking to Dyson] was the consideration was entirely about the electorate . . . It’s always been a tight seat for the 20 years that she’s been there; it’s the nature of that part of the city.” . . .
National won the party vote in the seat at the last election and boundary changes have made it far more marginal.
But under MMP, it is never entirely about the electorate.
Electorate votes get a candidate into parliament but it’s the list vote which gets a party into government.
Opting off the list can send a message to voters that if they want the candidate, they have to give them their electorate vote.
But this also reinforces the message that all’s not well on the not so good ship Labour, that candidates have no confidence in the list ranking process and emphasises the lack of unity in the party and caucus.
The nautical definition of listingis a tendency for a boat to tilt or lean to one side owing to an unstable load or ballast.
If it lists too far it can start losing cargo and eventually tip over.
Labour’s lurch to the left could be described as listing to port which ought to please Dyson who is one of its more left-wing MPs but she has decided to jump overboard from the list.
It could just be a message for voters to support her with their electorate votes. It could also be showing she doesn’t trust her party to give her the support she’s seeking from voters.