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Labour's list 'not trusted' by MP

Last updated 12:00 11/04/2011

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Labour has handed former president Andrew Little a certain seat in Parliament, and has given other union-backed candidates winnable slots in its party list for the November 26 election.

But the party yesterday was the target of a bitter broadside from list MP Damien O'Connor, who opted not to go on the list and will pin his hopes on winning the West Coast-Tasman seat held by National's Chris Auchinvole.

Mr O'Connor said he stood aside because he did not trust the list ranking process.

"Frankly I didn't trust the system to give a straight-shooter a fair deal ... It is dominated by self-serving unionists and a gaggle of gays."

He would not name individuals, but said he was disappointed the system did not deliver better results for rural and provincial candidates, such as himself, who were outside the party's power blocs.

"It does not truly represent the rank and file members and delivers a list that is not truly representative of those who vote Labour."

He said he had not known what list ranking he would have got, but he had "a fairly good indication" and he knew how the system worked.

The various blocs and agendas within the party were "much more about personal progress than party progress".

He believed he would win the West Coast-Tasman seat at the election.

Labour president Moira Coatsworth released the list yesterday, with Mr Little – the head of the powerful EPMU – at number 15, meaning he is certain to be elected even if he fails to win the New Plymouth seat.

The next highest-ranking non-MP is Deborah Mahuta-Coyle, 31, who is a press secretary in Labour's parliamentary office and a Maori political adviser. She is ranked 26.

Auckland Council local board member and Labour's Botany by-election candidate, Michael Wood, is the next non-MP at position 32.

"We have a skilled team of strong campaigners who will fight hard for a Labour-led government to deliver a fair go and opportunities to the many not the few. I'm proud that Labour's list also reflects New Zealand's diversity, with very strong new Maori, Pacific and Chinese candidates in the top 45 positions," Ms Coatsworth said.

On the basis of Labour's 2008 result and yesterday's One News poll, which at 34 per cent was identical to labour's 2008 result, the party would win 43 seats.

That would also bring in all those ranked above 37 on the list, including Auckland unionist Jerome Mika, who missed selection for the Manurewa seat, and former Labour vice president Kate Sutton.

Three seats would go to candidates ranked lower on the list who are expected to win their seats; Mana MP Kris Faafoi, Megan Woods, who is running in the Wigram seat vacated by Progressive leader Jim Anderton, and David Clark , who is standing in Dunedin North where Pete Hodgson is retiring.

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Another three seats should go to those standing in safe Labour seats but who opted not to go on the list: Lianne Dalziel In Christchurch East , Ross Robertson in Manukau East and Louisa Wall in Manurewa.

But Rino Tirikatene, ranked 45, is given a good chance of winning in Te Tai Tonga seat and he and Mr O'Connor could displace higher-ranked candidates unless Labour lifts its level of support.

Mr Goff yesterday said he believed Labour could win 40 per cent, giving it 48 MPs.

After the distraction of the Darren Hughes scandal he wanted to get the debate back on to the economy, jobs, National's asset sales programme and the cost of living.

Meanwhile, list MP Ashraf Choudhary has announced he will step down and is not on Labour's list. He said he had made the decision in the last few days and had not come under pressure from leadership.

"I have had nine years – it's been a pretty trail-blazing exercise representing Asian and Muslim communities," he said. But he was aware of the pressure for renewal in the party and thought it was time to go.

 

CHANGES AHEAD

ON THE WAY TO PARLIAMENT:

Andrew Little, Deborah Mahuta-Coyle, Michael Wood, Kate Sutton, Jerome Mika. ON THE CUSP: Josie Pagani, Lynette Stewart, Jordan Carter, Christine Rose.

ON THE WAY OUT: Ashraf Choudhary.

STANDING IN ELECTORATE ONLY: Lianne Dalziel, Ross Robertson, Louisa Wall, Damien O'Connor.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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