The Herald reports:
A decision by Labour’s Hutt South MP Trevor Mallard to stand on the list only next election makes it more likely the seat will fall to National.
Mallard has had a strong personal following in the seat, having held it since 1993.
But in the 2014 election, National’s young candidate Chris Bishop reduced Mallard’s majority to just 709, from 4825 in 2011.
Mallard would also have picked up votes from local Green candidate and list MP at the time Holly Walker, who was retiring from politics.
The greater indication of where the seat could head in next year’s election in in the party vote: National overwhelmingly won the party vote with 17,648, well ahead of Labour on 10,903.
Even with the Greens added to Labour, National was ahead on the party vote by more than 2000.
Generally there are only two reasons an Electorate MP goes list only:
- They are a senior Minister and don’t have the time to carry on being an effective Electorate MP (Michael Cullen, Bill English)
- They think they are going to lose the seat (or the nomination) and want someone else to wear the loss
It will be quite extraordinary if National picks up electorate seats in 2017, going for their 4th term. Normally governing parties lose electorate seats at their 4th election. The history is:
- 1946 Labour lost three seats
- 1957 National lost six seats
- 1969 National lost one seat
- 1984 National lost 10 seats
- 1999 National lost five seats (lost seven electorate, gained two list)
- 2008 Labour lost six seats (lost ten electorate, gained four list)
So National potentially winning new electorate seats in 2017 is a big thing – it goes against all post WWII history.