The battle for Mt Albert

The Dom Post on Saturday looked at the battle for within :

Party sources say the leading contender to replace her is newly elected list MP , who unsuccessfully contested the North Shore electorate last year.

Ha I have been saying that for months.

Two women are also bidding for the job: Auckland City Eden-Albert councillor and deposed cabinet minister .

I’d be amazed if either of them were selected.

Under the Electoral Act the vacant list seat would be filled by the next unelected person on Labour’s list former Corrections minister Damien O’Connor, who lost his West Coast seat. He famously submitted his resignation to Miss Clark last year in a text message from Hong Kong Airport. She did not accept it.

Mr O’Connor could not be contacted, but if he turns down the invitation the next person on the list is Miss Tizard.

Yes Judith could be back either way, as Cullen retiring and Twyford winning Mt Albert would bring two people in on the list – O’Connor and Tizard.

I understand Labour sources are fairly relaxed about O’Connor coming back in. He didn’t do great as a Minister but has rural appeal, which they need.

Labour’s nighmare is the block of five after O’Connor. They are:

  1. Judith Tizard
  2. Mark Burton
  3. Mahara Okeroa
  4. Martin Gallagher
  5. Dave Hereora

So the rejuvenation caused by Cullen or Clark going would be to bring back in an MP who lose their seat, and who has no chance of ever making Cabinet agin – or to bring in (Hereora) an MP who was so invisible that he made Larry Sutherland look like a dynamic high profile MP.

The next on the list after Heroera is Louisa Wall. I rate Wall pretty highly – she’s smart, good on policy, and articulate. She did not make many friends in Labour though, hence her low list ranking. However after her is Lesley Soper, whom no one in Labour wants back, so I understand their aim is to get Wall in to replace Cullen or Clark (whomever goes second).

But to get Wall in, they have to convince not one, but five former MPs to stand aside. As the Greens found out with Mike Ward this can be easier said than done.

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