Paddy Gower at TV3 reports:
Nominations open today, and 3 News has learned Little will put his name forward – confirmed by top-level sources in the Labour hierarchy.
This is an interesting, but not unexpected, development. There was some talk of Andrew standing in Rongotai or even Hutt South if the incumbents retired or went list only. That obviously is not going to happen now.
New Plymouth is the most marginal electorate in the country – Labour’s Harry Duynhoven lost to Jonathan Young by 105 votes.
By putting their local boy and big gun in, Labour are showing they want this seat back.
But it’s a risky move.
Duynhoven had a hugely loyal following in New Plymouth.
Look at the party vote; there’s a 6611 majority to National. So, really, Little needs 6716 votes to overturn Young.
The electorate vote margin is rather misleading, due to the Duynhoven factor. Andrew will be a strong candidate, but it is not really a marginal seat.
So the risk is Little may not win – a loss would be hugely embarrassing and set his career off to a stuttering start.
Of course, he would still come into Parliament on a high list spot.
If Little really backs himself and cares about the New Plymouth, maybe he will have the guts to go all-or-nothing and not take a list spot.
I don’t think Andrew will turn down a high list spot. And as he chairs the list ranking committee, I think it is safe to say he will rank himself highly. He will be busy though, as he will also be running an independent third party campaign for the EPMU.
While risky, there are huge rewards in this – a power base from which to launch his career. Electorates are still vitally important to those who want to make big moves in politics because of the base they give.
You don’t generally become leader if you are a list MP. Hence the need for a seat.Tags: Andrew Little, Labour, New Plymouth