Little – list or Rongotai?

According the the Herald Annette King will stand again in 2017 but may move onto the list only. That will leave her safe Labour electorate open for someone else to step into it.

Andrew Little lives in the electorate and it has been suggested before that he might inherit it. He has lost twice when standing in New Plymouth.

Annette King hints at Labour future

Labour veteran Annette King has confirmed she will stand again in 2017 but possibly only on the list, a step which would open up her Rongotai electorate for leader Andrew Little.

Mr Little lives in the Rongotai electorate in Wellington – a safe Labour seat in which Ms King has been the local MP since 1993.

Asked if Mr Little had asked her to allow him to stand in the seat, Ms King said “that is hypothetical”.

“We talk to each other all the time, but I’ll make my announcement on what I’m going to do in the future.”

She said she would announce her decision “when I’m ready.”

Remember that King had said she would be deputy leader for a year and then stand aside, but after the year was up decided to stay as 2IC to Little.

Mr Little has stood unsuccessfully in New Plymouth for the past two elections but has ruled out doing so again. He was yet to decide whether to stand in an electorate.

“I’m quite enjoying being a list MP having the flexibility to get around the country doing the job I do.”

He said candidate selection for the 2017 campaign had not yet started “so that’s a wee way down the track”.

There is supposedly some political mana in being an electorate MP but I don’t know if the public cares about it.

There’s a good argument for major party leaders to be list only as they have plenty to do without attending to electorate duties as well.

Last term Bill English retired from his Clutha Southland electorate and went list only, a goo idea for someone as busy as a finance minister. Steven Joyce is another senior MP who is list only.

It would be embarrassing for the Labour leader to lose in an electorate, so switching to a safer seat could be attractive for Little.

New Plymouth was won by 105 votes in 2008 by National from Labour’s Harry Duynhoven, after Duynhoven won by 5,434 in 2005 and by 11,533 in 2002.

  • 2005: Labour 37.64%, Duynhoven 53.20%
  • 2008: Labour 31.42%, Duynhoven 47.88%
  • 2011: Labour 25.82%, Little 40.41%
  • 2014: Labour 21.10%, Little 31.56%

Not surprising that Little doesn’t want to stand in New Plymouth again. He only just made it back into Parliament last election, he was the last on Labour’s list to make it.

At least as leader he would be number 1 on the Labour list – if he remains leader.

King has won easily against National’s Chris Finlayson and Green’s Russel Norman for the last three elections, by a consistent margin of about 9,000 each time, but the Labour vote has been much lower.

 

  • 2008: Labour 42.69%, King 52.45%
  • 2011: Labour 34.18%, King 50.52%
  • 2014: Labour 30.35%, King 49.43%

King gets much higher personal support than Labour gets.

2014 party results:

  • National 32.55%
  • Labour 30.35%
  • Green 26.27%

 

Now Norman has resigned the Green vote may or may not hold up, but Little may struggle to get the same electorate vote that King maintained. King is one of Labour’s most respected MPs.