National Party Leader Christopher Luxon says he’s committed to having a more diverse range of candidates for the 2023 general election.
His concession came as Sam Uffindell launched his campaign for the Tauranga by-election to replace outgoing National MP Simon Bridges.
At Uffindell’s official campaign launch at Mount Maunganui College on Saturday, Luxon said while the party wasn’t where he wanted it to be in terms of diversity, progress was being made.
“I am confident the National Party will have a very diverse candidacy for 2023,” Luxon said.
This may prove to be quite challenging. The reason why, is that National may win a lot of electorate seats.
The National Party hierarchy does care about having diversity in caucus, but this is generally done through the list ranking. The ranking is done by senior officials and the caucus leadership has very strong influence over that.
But individual selections in most electorates are done 100% by local members. And while diversity may be a factor for them, they only get to select one candidate. Many do not even decide until selection night who to vote for, after listening to their speeches.
National in 2020 got 33 MPs. Let’s say in 2023 they get 53 MPs. Now normally 20 additional MPs would give you a lot of ability to make sure there was a decent diversity. But it is unlikely there will be 20 additional List MPs (which are centrally chosen). How many electorate seats could National pick up?
Well while they won’t win all of them, the following seats could well come into play:
- Upper Harbour
- New Plymouth
- Hamilton East
- Hutt South
- West Coast-Tasman
- Hamilton West
- East Coast
Now winning electorate seats is definitely a good thing overall for a party. But if National did win say 20 electorates back off Labour, then they might get no extra List MPs, and that would make list ranking more difficult.