List rankings offer no safety nets
The two men vying to be the MP for Palmerston North could be without safety nets come September 20, following the release of National's party list.
The list, which decides the order that candidates will be elected to Parliament if they do not win an electorate seat, was released yesterday and put National's candidate, Palmerston North mayor Jono Naylor, at number 51.
That does not mean that if National earns 43 per cent of the party vote on election day, enough for 51 or more MPs, that Naylor is in. Far from it.
Below Naylor on the list are 10 candidates standing in electorates National already holds. The bulk of these 10, if not all of them, will get into Parliament after September 20, meaning a higher percentage is needed for Naylor to have a safe back-up option should he not win Palmerston North.
The party polled 47.5 per cent in 2011, enough for 59 MPs. The last person to get in on the list then was at number 50.
Analysis by blogger David Farrar, based on a number of other assumptions, estimates Naylor would need National to win 47.3 per cent for him to be elected.
In last night's TV One/Colmar Brunton poll, 52 per cent of decided voters said they would vote National.
With 10 per cent of those polled yet to decide who to vote for and a tendency for polls to be biased to the Right because of their reliance on landlines, there's no guarantee National will poll above 50 per cent on election day.
And thus it means Naylor cannot count on a list spot to save him.
In a more precarious spot on his party list is Labour's Iain Lees-Galloway. The two-term MP sits at number 24 on Labour's list and would need Labour to win something like 29 per cent to be elected.
Last night Labour polled down one point at 28 per cent, but it has been lower than that in other media polls this month.
Complicating predictions around Labour's list is the number of electable candidates who are only contesting electorate races.
But what it all boils down to is this: the stakes have gone up in what was already an intriguing electoral race.
It's effectively winner takes all, with neither candidate able to count on the party list as a safety net.
As is to be expected, both men have said their goal is to win the seat and not a spot on the party list.
But only one man can win the seat, and in a little under eight weeks we'll know who that person is.