Local candidates low down ranks of Labour list

by Kim Bowden - Jul 31, 2023

Labour has unveiled its lineup of candidates for October's election, with Waitaki and Southland low down the ranks.

Simon McCallum, the candidate for Southland, which includes Queenstown, is number 70 on the list, while Ethan Reille, the candidate for Waitaki, which includes Wānaka and Cromwell, is number 76 on the list - the very last spot.

Current polling suggests Labour will be bringing a much smaller team into Parliament after the election, closer to 45 MPs compared to the 65 delivered in 2020.

Unless Mr McCallum or Mr Reille win their respective electorates, there is little chance they'll make it to Wellington.

Nineteen other new Labour candidates have made it higher up the party's rankings, including highest ranking fresh face Georgie Dansey, who contested the Hamilton West by-election after Gaurav Sharma was ejected from the party.

However Mr McCallum tells Crux at the far end of the list it "becomes just a pool of talent rather than actually determining your value".

"It also makes it very clear that I am absolutely aligned with the campaign slogan 'in it for you' as there is no personal gain for me standing for Southland. It will cost me money, and my annual leave for the year, with no personal advantage for me."

Meanwhile all current Cabinet ministers and the Speaker Adrian Rurawhe are either in safe seats or have been given winnable list placings, with the top five spots going to Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, Kelvin Davis, Carmel Sepuloni, Grant Robertson, and Megan Woods.

There are sitting MPs who will struggle to return to Parliament come October, with Stuff heading its reporting of the list as 'Labour list shows which MPs likely to lose their jobs at coming election'.

Ones to watch are former Cabinet ministers Michael Wood and Phil Twyford, at 45 and 49 respectively, who will both be relying on winning electorate seats to remain in their jobs.

Labour leader Chris Hipkins and party president Jill Day published the list of 76 candidates on Monday, both saying the party had an “abundance of talent”, and it was challenging to compile as more people wanted to run than the spaces available.

But the length of the list will not be the issue for Labour – it will be how many candidates succeed in their campaigns for a seat in Parliament.

The top of 23 candidates on Labour's list are current Cabinet ministers and Speaker Adrian Rurawhe, with the top five spots taken by Hipkins, Kelvin Davis, Carmel Sepuloni, Grant Robertson, and Megan Woods respectively.

In 2020, National's Joseph Mooney won the Southland electorate seat comfortably, while Jacqui Dean, the Waitaki. 

Mr Mooney will look to retain his seat in October, while Ms Dean is set to retire from Parliament, with National putting forward farmer Miles Anderson to replace her.

Labour has put forward an AI academic to contest Mr Mooney's seat, and an 18-year-old first-time voter and former Waitaki Boys' High School head boy to contest Ms Dean's.

Read more:

School leaver joins farmer in race for Waitaki

Labour backs AI expert Simon McCallum for Southland

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