Race for city seat heats up
The chances of Palmerston North having two MPs in Parliament after the general election have taken a hit, with both the National and Labour candidates falling outside the safety zone on their party lists.
Jono Naylor sits at 51 on the National Party list, announced yesterday, meaning he may not have a back-up route into Parliament if he does not defeat Labour's Iain Lees-Galloway in the Palmerston North race.
The latest Stuff.co.nz/Ipsos political poll had National on 54.8 per cent, at which point Naylor would be safe. However, if the party polls closer to the 47 per cent it got in 2011, then Naylor could miss out.
Lees-Galloway, the incumbent, has no safety net unless Labour's fortunes pick up. The party is polling in the mid-twenties and at 24 on the party's list Lees-Galloway would need to win or he could be out of a job after September 20.
Both men said getting in on the list was not the goal.
"At the end of the day, for me, this was never about what place I have on this list, it's always been about trying to win Palmerston North as a seat," Naylor said.
"My place on the list doesn't offer me any guarantee, that's for sure.
"My attitude has always been that I'm trying to win the seat.
"While numbers on the list have maybe an impact for an overall wash-up of the election result, I think the important thing is that people cast their electorate vote for the person that is going to offer them the best for the city and I'm going to be spending the next 55 days trying to explain to people why that person should be me."
Lees-Galloway said the National Party list announcement changed nothing. He said he would continue campaigning for both the party vote and the electorate seat.
Each party's share of seats in Parliament is normally determined by the party vote.
Party lists determine which candidates enter Parliament if they miss out on an electorate seat.
Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie, who sits at 41 on National's list, moving up 18 spaces since 2011, said he was happy with his place: "I'm pretty relaxed wherever I sit on this list because at the end of the day my aspiration isn't to be a list MP. I'm happy to be wherever they put me."
The male-dominated list had Otaki MP Nathan Guy at 16 and Wairarapa candidate Alastair Scott at 61.
Guy welcomed his list ranking.
"It's great to have the support of the National Party, but I've always said I want to be the local MP for Otaki rather than reliant on the list," Guy said. In the 2011 election Guy was ranked 20.
National Party president Peter Goodfellow said: "Our 2014 list shows the benefit of our ongoing rejuvenation programme. If National was able to match its election result from 2011, we would bring in as many as 13 new MPs, alongside 46 returning MPs."