Little scared off Rongotai

Stuff reports:

Labour leader Andrew Little is to run as a list-only candidate in this year’s election, opening the way for councillor Paul Eagle to win the party’s nomination for the Rongotai seat.

His decision means the leaders of the two biggest parties – Little and Prime Minister Bill English – will not contest constituencies although the leaders of all the other parties in Parliament have signalled they will be standing in electorates.

Little has previously been defeated in the New Plymouth seat twice by National backbencher Jonathan Young but it was long rumoured he may seek to stand in Deputy Leader Annette King’s Rongotai seat, where he lives, if she stood down – a decision she made late last year.

There can be little doubt Little wanted the seat. He has lived in Rongotai for many many years and it is a rock solid seat for Labour – a seat for life. And as Andrew wants a long career in politics, of course he wants it.

But he wasn’t assured of beating Paul Eagle who has long been Annette’s favoured replacement. It says something that the Labour Deputy Leader was not willing to support the Labour leader to take over her seat.

Four of Labour’s top six MPs are based in Wellington. That shows how isolated they have got.

Also of interest is that if Labour do worse in 2017 than they did in 2014, Little might not even get back to Parliament as a List MP!

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