King opens Rongotai option for Little

Annette King has announced that she won’t stand for her Rongotai electorate next election, but will still stand on the list.

This leaves the electorate open for Andrew Little, who lives in Rongotai. This has been predicted for some time.

King said it isn’t an arrangement to give Little a safe seat, but she thought it was time to step aside for another generation.  King is 69, Little is 51. That would sort of make it a new generation.

“I’m in the 60s generation, we need somebody in the 40s or round that age. You need somebody that can take on the seat and do it for 20-odd years.”

A curious comment given the Little speculation.

Also curious is the timing after Parliament has risen for the year, when there is likely to be little coverage or notice of her decision.

And why has (as it appears) King given this story to the Auckland based Herald and not her local Dominion Post – I can’t see a story about it on Stuff at least, although it may be in the Dom print version.

The Herald reports: Annette King stands aside for the younger generation in electorate

King told the Herald that after 24 years she had decided “with some sadness” not to stand in the electorate again in 2017.

King, 69, denied her decision was part of any arrangement with Little, saying she simply believed it was time for another generation to take on the electorate.

She did not know if Little wanted to stand there and had made her own decision to step aside.

Yeah, right. It would have been her decision, but it’s hard to believe there had been no thought or discussion about who might take over her electorate.

Little, a list MP, has lived in the Rongotai electorate for years and said he would consider standing in the seat.

“Up until now it was an attractive option as leader of the party to remain list because you get drawn all over the country.”

It does make sense for a party leader and especially the Prime Minister to be list only due to their country-wide commitments. Bill English is the first list Prime Minister – he left his electorate prior to the 2014 election.

“Being tied to an electorate, particularly if I’m campaigning to win it for the first time, creates an extra workload.”

That could be an issue for Little.  He has stood and failed twice in New Plymouth. Even though Rongotai has been a safe seat for King if Little stood there there there would be pressure on him to do well, as well as fly the Labour flag nationally.

King first got into Parliament in 1984 in Horowhenua but lost the seat in 1990. She then won Mirimar in 1993 and that became Rongotai with the MMP rearrangements in 1996, which she has held since.

The Rongotai result from 2014:

Party Candidate Votes % ±% Party Votes % ±%
Labour Green tick Annette King 18,840 49.43 −1.09 11,754 31.87 −2.31
National Chris Finlayson 9,223 24.20 −1.18 12,606 34.18 +1.19
Green Russel Norman 7,856 20.61 +0.43 10,176 27.59 +3.40
NZ First Brent Pierson 793 2.08 +0.72 2,097 5.71 +1.26
Conservative Bruce Welsh 576 1.51 +0.30 623 1.70 +0.59
Mana Ariana Paretutanganui-Tamati 225 0.59 +0.59
United Future Sultan Eusoff 95 0.24 +0.24 143 0.38 −0.21
Independent Don Richards 89 0.23 −0.19
Climate Aaron Carter 66 0.17 +0.17
Patriotic Revolutionary Front John Overton 48 0.12 +0.12

King had an easy win but quite a bit of her majority may be on her personal standing in the electorate. National got more party votes than Labour.

Russel Norman got a big chunk of votes too, with him out of the equation it would probably help the new Labour candidate.

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1 Comment

  1. Damn… posted in Media watch just as this must have been being published….

    If Little doesn’t stroll this given the 2014 numbers he will have a lot of questions to answer. King has a huge majority and the Labgreen party vote in the area is massive.

    Its a pity National haven’t campaigned more strongly in the area with someone personable, young and with a blue-green outlook. The area has transformed massively over the last 30 years and become very gentrified in areas like Haitaitai, Island Bay and through parts of Kilbirnie. Chris Findlayson has the personality of a desiccated fish

    Reply

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