NZ First MP causes ripples over list

HAMISH RUTHERFORD AND AIMEE GULLIVER
Last updated 15:09 25/08/2014
Andrew Williams
UPHILL: Andrew Williams admits he faces a tough road to get back into office.

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NZ First MP and former North Shore mayor Andrew Williams appears to have fallen out with party leader Winston Peters over his complaints about the list selection process.

A leaked draft of the NZ First list had Williams, who holds a large number of portfolios for the party, at 13, compared to three in 2011.

He said last week the ranking had came as "a bolt out of the blue" as he defended his work as an MP, blaming the ranking on internal party politics.

He admitted his position could make it difficult to return to parliament.

"I hope we do. I hope I am able to get back in and come back in with double-digit numbers of MPs. That would be great," he said.

"It's not out of the realm, but it's starting to get into the area where it would be somewhat difficult."

Peters declined to comment on the draft list, saying it was confidential to the party and would be released imminently.

He said he found it "hard to believe" that Williams had made the comments, given that he signed a confidentiality agreement on March 26.

"So he's talked about the process. Well, that's a breach of confidentiality for a start," Peters said following a speech to the Masterton Cosmopolitan Club.

Such a breach was "very serious".

"We're in for the long haul. The reason we've survived  is because we have seriously democratic processes."

Peters declined to say what punishment Williams could face.

"I'm concerned about the candidates that are in the party doing their best, keeping the plans for the party confidential to themselves and getting on with the job. I'm not going to be diverted by comments that should not be made."

Peters spoke today alongside Carterton mayor Ron Mark, a former NZ First MP, who is the party's candidate in Wairarapa. Peters said Mark had an excellent chance at returning to Parliament.

"He's got the experience, he's got commitments to the Wairarapa. His opponents have not shown that in the past."

Asked if Mark was a possible successor as Party leader Peters said leaders were not decided by the person standing down, whenever that might happen, but Mark was an "exciting possibility" although there were others.

Mark declined to comment on where he would be on the list, but claimed he believed that he partly felt a lower placing was better, as it would force the electorate to decide on who they wanted as MP.

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