Little angling for Rongotai

Stuff reports:

Labour leader won’t run in Mt Roskill if MP Phil Goff is successful in his bid for Auckland Mayor, but is in his sights.

Little has ruled out running in the long-held Auckland Labour seat saying, “there is a depth of talent out there already”.

Goff announced on Sunday that he would run for the super-city mayoralty next year and would stay on as Mt Roskill MP through to the election.

He would, however, relinquish his Auckland issues portfolio to avoid confusion as to whether he was attending events as an MP or with his mayoral candidate hat on.

When asked if Auckland Central’s Jacinda Ardern was an obvious replacement for the Auckland portfolio, Little said there were a number of Auckland MPs who are “potential candidates for that”.

Little will make his reshuffle announcements in the next week after holding off doing so until Goff had made a decision about the mayoralty race.

Leading the Labour Party and not being “tied to a seat” is a good position to be in, and Little said he would only stand in a seat in 2017 if a “suitable” one came up.

“We could be in a position where Rongotai becomes available so I can’t rule out not standing in a seat,” he said.

Labour deputy leader Annette King holds the Rongotai seat but Little said “depending on what she decided to do” would determine whether he stood there.

That’s pretty unsubtle. Roll over for me Annette!

Little has stood and lost to National MP Jonathan Young in the seat in the last two elections and those losses appear to have taken their toll.

“I haven’t ruled out New Plymouth and I’ve got an office up there and have a presence up there but I’ve run their twice and missed out twice so there are other options I need to consider.”

I recall in 2011 Little was toasted as someone who could win a seat off National, and would do so in his home town. He got heaps of publicity.

The result was Jonathan Young grew his majority from 105 to 4,270.

In 2014 Little stood again.  This time Young’s majority exploded to 9,778.

In fact Little only got back into Parliament because Labour stuffed up their list ranking and failed to achieve the gender target they set. If they had followed their own policy, he would not be an MP!

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