Labour’s MPs

With the polls going seriously South for Labour, there is a focus on will survive. Ruth Laugeson in the SST takes a look:

Under the poll results Labour would lose 14 of its 50 MPs, many of them list MPs. With the list already carrying several MPs lost their electorate seats last election, competition for the winnable top spots is likely to be fierce.

MPs now risk relegation to unwinnable places on the list include former Napier MP Russell Fairbrother, Maori MPs Dave Hereora and Mita Ririnui and newcomers Moana Mackey and Lesley Soper.

Matthew Hooton also looks at their challenge:

Its problem is that if it is down to, say, 36 MPs, its caucus will be dominated by tired old faces lacking strong appeal.

George Hawkins, and will all win their seats. You’d probably bet on Cunliffe and Chris Carter saving theirs and there’s a chance Mahara Okeroa, Nanaia Mahuta and Lynne Pillay might also scrape home.

Winnie Laban, Lianne Dalziel, Ruth Dyson and the Progressive Party’s Jim Anderton should all be safe, as should the unpopular Trevor Mallard and Pete Hodgson.

Obviously Clark will win Mt Albert and Cullen will be back on the list. Goff and are completely safe.

These people would be half Labour’s caucus. Some have been important and successful ministers going all the way back to the days of David Lange and Roger Douglas, but with the best will in the world they can’t be called a team for 2011 or beyond.

Some new talent is on the way. Wellington Central’s Grant Robertson is from the party’s powerful lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, takataapui, fa’afafine and intersex sector, but is just as comfortable at a rugby club.

He should go straight to the front bench. Dunedin South’s Clare Curran enhanced her reputation by the competent way she handled the scandal surrounding her role at the Environment Ministry. Louisa Wall potentially has appeal.

Beyond these three, Labour’s rejuvenation programme has largely failed.

Laugeson also looks at post-election leadership:

Labour leader Helen Clark’s position is considered unassailable but interest is building in a successor if she is defeated in the end of year election.

New frontbencher David Cunliffe, is seen to have taken a firm grip of the health portfolio, is now strongly in the running alongside Phil Goff.

Goff vs Cunliffe would be interesting. Could Jones also stand?

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