Kris Faafoi to stand on list only this year

RNZ: Labour MP for Mana Kris Faafoi says he will run as a list candidate at this year’s election

He said that the decision has been made with a heavy heart, but creates space for new talent to come through at the election to bolster the Labour team in Parliament.

It will give ‘space for new talent to come through’ as an electorate MP, but won’t ‘bolster the Labour team in Parliament’ – increase the number of Labour MPs – as that is determined by the party vote.

“The time has come to make intentions clear in terms of nominations, so that’s my intent, and I think it’ll be good for the party, and hopefully … good for the government too,” Faafoi said in a statement.

Whether this turns out to be good for the government or not will depend on the outcome of this year’s election.

It could be good for the party. To me it makes sense for senior MPs, especially ministers, to be full time in their portfolio and party jobs, with newer MPs learning the ropes in an electorate.

Actually it seems nuts that the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and others with large workloads still have to attend to electorate duties.

Bill English is I think the only person who has been Prime Minister as a list MP, but he had held an electorate for 24 years before going list only (this seemed a sensible move).

“What I’ll miss about being an electorate MP is the proximity to a community…

This is one of the positives of electorates. It gives constituents easy access to an MP, and also ensures an MP work with a whole community outside of their party interests.

MPs who have only ever been on the list tend to associate with their own crowd. This is a particular problem for parties like the Greens and NZ First who are wholly list MP parties. They can become embubbled.

Faafoi has been an electorate MP since 2010 when he won a by-election in Mana.

Prior to this he had been a journalist and political commentator, and had then been Labour leader Phil Goff’s chief press secretary. He had looked like a party plant in Mana, but despite this background he has turned out to be generally a respected and competent MP and minister.

He has had some hiccups recently, apologising to the Prime Minister last year over his involvement in a immigration application.

And has has just been checked by Cabinet after trying to rush through a merger of RNZ and TVNZ (before a business case had been made).  If he is still Minister of broadcasting next term he will have more time to do things like this properly.