Labour's next Maori MPSince the resignation of disgraced Labour MP Darren Hughes, it was clear from the moment Mark Burton released his statement declining a list place that the next Labour MP is to be a Maori. Louisa Wall is the party favourite, but she’s the sixth cab off the rank, ahead of Mahara Okeroa and Martin Gallagher, both who had indicated they won’t be taking up a list place, and Dave Hereroa.
If Wall does come in she will have twice come in outside of a general or by-election. She is unsuccessful on the list and at the electorate. Both times she would have entered parliament the same year as an election, and therefore both times to replace a leaving MP.
In addition she was not the next on the list after each election as in 2008 Charles Chauvel was ahead of her. Now, of course, Tizard was next in line. Furthermore Wall would be leapfrogging five list places to get into parliament at the bidding of party leaders, who have presumably given her a safe seat in 2011 so she is not the first Labour MP to be turfed out twice at subsequent elections. (National list MP Alec Neill was turfed out twice in a short space of time, but unlike Wall, never stood as a candidate for an electorate in an MMP election).
Also Wall, if Labour gets its way, will be in parliament after prior intervention from (now former) party president Andrew Little, who also intervened at Wall's selection for Manurewa. Little has expressed a clear preference that Wall replace Darren Hughes, and made it quite clear he wanted to “remove” George Hawkins, leading to Wall succeeding in being the Labour candidate for Manurewa in this year’s election.
In other words, Wall is only wanted if no-one better is available or someone considered lesser is arm-twisted to leave - and the handful in list places above Wall are not deemed “better”. If the list is regarded as a second class MP, Wall is third class MP that is, according to Goff, a “young and energetic person with a strong future in politics”.
To secure that strong future, Labour has to select Wall in a winnable seat. Unlike Darren Hughes, Wall has not been able to win a seat, and is not considered as worthy as members such as Ashraf Choudhary and Raymond Huo, thus deserving of a winnable list spot.
Political commentator Dr Bryce Edwards has some salient thoughts on Labour manipulating its party list.