Stuff understands a draft copy of the NZ First list, determined by the party’s selection committee last weekend, has Williams ranked at 13 and Mark at 9.
The draft list is understood to have MP Richard Prosser ranked at No 3.
Prosser became infamous in 2013 for writing in his regular column in Investigate magazine, that all young Muslim men – or those who “look” Muslim – should be barred from flying on Western airlines. The rights of New Zealanders were being “denigrated by a sorry pack of misogynist troglodytes from Wogistan”, Prosser wrote. He later apologised for the comments.
The guy who said the most racist thing in the last three years is rewarded with the No 3 spot? Only in NZ First.
I also can’t understand why Williams would be ranked so low, at 13.
While Williams did some silly stuff as Mayor of North Shore, my observation of him as an MP is that he has generally been quite sound and hard working. He hasn’t generated anywhere near the negative headlines of MPs such as Prosser and Lole-Taylor yet he is the one dumped. This is very weird.
Williams said his ranking on the list came as “a bolt out of the blue”.
“I think most people would agree around Parliament I’ve been a pretty able MP,” he said.
“I’ve performed for the party, I’ve done a lot of hard work for the party and I’ve represented the party as well as I could.”
The ranking was no reflection of his ability or contribution, but attributable to internal party politics, Williams said.
“I’ve had the most portfolios of any MP. I’ve had 11, plus I’ve been an associate to Winston on foreign affairs, trade, SOEs and finance,” he said.
“So I’ve had a very heavy workload, and the portfolios I’ve had have been pretty solid ones, like local government, veterans’ affairs, conservation, environment, energy; all of which I’ve been solidly batting on.”
Williams said he would like to know what the selection committee’s criteria were for selecting the top 10 candidates for the party.
He had sought an explanation for the drop but had not received a response.
I think he has been hard done by.
The return of Ron Mark at No 9 is interesting. They’ll need to lift their vote slightly to get him in, but if they do, then they may have a potential sucessor to Peters.
UPDATE: Have spoken to someone close to NZ First and they say that the sole criteria for list ranking is total devotion and loyalty to Winston, so in that context the list makes sense!
They also made the point that while Ron Mark has some relationships with people in National, he is also very close to someone in Mana, and his inclusion should not signal they’ll go with National, but equally be used to form a Labour-Greens-NZ First-Mana-Internet Government.