Don’t blame MMP for Labour’s problemsThe NZ Herald has said that Louisa Wall is the most suitable candidate to replace Darren Hughes on Labour’s list. Why? Not because of any of her qualities, but because she is the next on the party list who will also be on the list prior to the 2011 election. Wall is several places below Judith Tizard, the next on the list.
Had Pansy Wong been a list MP, Conway Powell would have been an MP upon her resignation as he is next on the National party list. Does that mean he is the most suitable candidate, or would former Act MP Stephen Franks and former United Future MP Marc Alexander, the next two on the list, be more suitable, given their parliamentary experience?
Legislation does not determine which MP comes into parliament based on their suitability, but on their position in the party list. If an MP is deemed unsuitable or unwanted – as Tizard obviously is – it is not because of the vagaries of MMP, as the Herald would have you believe, it is due to an ill thought out list selection.
Labour, and the Herald, may well say Louisa Wall intends to resume her political career if she is leapfrogged by the party into Parliament. But she will stay in Parliament as long as Tizard would if she does not get a low enough list place to get into Parliament after the election. Labour has not indicated that Wall will be high enough on the list for her to return in November.