City MP moves up party list

LABOUR: Iain Lees-Galloway.
LABOUR: Iain Lees-Galloway.

Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway may need to cling on to his electorate seat to stay in Parliament.

Facing a stiff challenge from National candidate Jono Naylor, Lees-Galloway could find himself out of a job if he loses the city race and his party's fortunes do not pick up.

On the Labour Party list, which was announced yesterday, Lees-Galloway sits at 24, moving up 13 spaces from the last election. Despite creeping up the list, he could still find himself in a vulnerable spot in September's general election if Labour's vote falls below 28 per cent.

The latest political poll shows the party has dropped 6 percentage points to 23 per cent.

With his high profile, Naylor, Palmerston North's mayor, is National's best chance in a generation of turning the city seat blue.

Less-Galloway said he thought his ranking gave him a reasonable chance of coming in on the list, if required, but that was not his focus.

"My two primary aims are to hold the seat for Labour and to improve the party vote. I got into politics to represent Palmerston North and my plan is to continue representing Palmerston North."

The party vote went National's way in Palmerston North last time, though the city chose to stick with Lees-Galloway as its MP, ahead of National's Leonie Hapeta.

Lees-Galloway is 21 on the Labour caucus list and said allowing for rebalancing for gender balance and ethnic balance following a gender quota the party passed last year, 24 was a predictable place to end up.

"What we've managed to do with this list is promote some fairly good candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds . . . and a variety of communities," Lees-Galloway said.

"If you look at the Labour list it looks a lot like New Zealand."

Labour's Rangitikei candidate Deborah Russell said she was delighted by the list and pleased with to be placed at 33.

She has a chance of making it in on the list if Labour wins about 33 per cent of the party vote.

"I think our polling will lift and I think there will be a good number of us new people going into Parliament on the list," Russell said.

Each party's share of seats in Parliament is normally determined by the party vote.

Each party's list determines which candidates enter Parliament if they miss out on an electorate seat.

Labour's list is made up of 30 men and 34 women, with women making up nine of the top 20 candidates.

A further 16 men and five women are standing for electorates only.

Labour Party president Moira Coatsworth said a moderating committee met on Saturday and Sunday in Auckland and agreed on the list of 64 candidates.

National is yet to release its list.

Manawatu Standard