The Labour List

Posted: May 2, 2017 in elections, feminism, New Zealand
Tags: , ,

So, Labour’s list is out. You can see bios for the most electable candidates at Labour’s website, although it hasn’t yet been updated for list-only candidates*. (update: you can find Labour’s article on their list here)

If you haven’t been following the news, you will note that in addition to the expected absense of Annette King after she decided to step aside next election in favour of Jacinda Ardern for deputy and Paul Eagle in her electorate, Sue Moroney is now gone too. This is a big loss for Labour, as she has been a champion for working women, making excellent strides with paid parental leave in Parliament, and it looks like they’ve naively looked at the party vote in her electorate and decided she’s a drag as a candidate, when I think it’s likely she just suffered from a tide towards national in the election, and deserved an electable list position. I expect if she hadn’t resigned, this means the highest she would have ranked would be the early 30s, and to be honest, that’s a very unfair ranking when compared to some of the performances of MPs who were ranked significantly higher, such as Stuart Nash, Clare Curran, Ruth Dyson, or Jenny Salesa. Appeal to the electorate can’t be the only consideration when ranking list MPs, there also has to be some concession to how effective they were at pushing key legislation and their performance in the house. Moroney should have ranked very highly on those two issues among sitting Labour MPs, and certainly among those who aren’t currently on the front bench, and probably deserved a ranking nearby Ruth Dyson and Jenny Salesa.

I’m honestly not as interested in the story about what caused the delay in releasing the list, and whether Little was trying to bump Willie Jackson up the ranks, as in all practical terms, he’s in a fairly electable position. If Labour polls below 30%, Jackson certainly hasn’t earned his spot in Parliament back, and being possibly the lowest-ranked list MP for Labour in 2017 will give everyone who wants him in the party a huge incentive to campaign hard for the Party Vote to make sure his position is secure. I think that’s win-win, and even if he’s disappointed, I think he’s done pretty well out of the list selection, to be honest, with some more talented newer political blood ranking lower than him. (Willie Jackson might be new to the Labour Party, but he was also the deputy leader of the Alliance back during the Clark era, so he’s old blood in the same sense as Laila Harré is. And we’ll all note that she, while far more qualified to be an MP than Jackson, has not had anyone advocating to get her an electable position in the Labour Party)

I’ve gone through and assigned each candidate to their electorate where I could find public comfirmation of their selection, and recorded which electorates Labour won in 2014, then threw in Ōhāriu for good measure, as there’s a real chance Labour could win there, and I have assumed for the primary scenario that Kelvin Davis will win again in Te Tai Tokerau. Neither of those are really guaranteed, but they are likely enough that Labour should be banking on them happening when it selects its list. (arguably, it should also be considering its candidates for Hamilton East and Hamilton West in terms of gender balance too, as most governments win at least 1 of the Hamilton seats, if not both of them) I’ve then calculated the effective list position for the remaining candidates, and compared it with the current average of recent Labour polling performances, which would net them 36 seats.

In that first scenario, where the two competitive races against minor parties go Labour’s way, they would end up with 20 male MPs, and 16 female MPs. Each of those two races would return a female list MP instead if Labour lost, assuming the minor party Labour lost to didn’t take a seat off them, which is a reasonably safe assumption given the polling of both United Future and Mana, so if Labour loses both Te Tai Tokerau and Ōhāriu and maintains its current polling into the election, its caucus will be gender-balanced for the first time ever.

According to its own regulations, Labour should be selecting its list so that women are expected to win at least 50% of its seats. This so-called “man ban” has not eventuated, as Labour will be assuming they’ll win both those key electorates, which means they need to make up four women in the party vote from current polling. The earliest they could do this would be to win exactly another 15 seats, (ie. 51 total, enough that they could govern with just the Greens in their coalition) which would require roughly a 41.5% Party Vote for Labour, assuming all of the votes were gained off National. That’s a 12% bump from current polling, something which would basically require Bill English to completely gaffe up the campaign, like claiming the Labour Party aren’t mainstream enough, or undermining our nuclear free-status, or simply being as racist as he was last time he was National Leader. Labour shouldn’t have to rely on National screwing up their campaign to elect enough women to get a reasonably balanced caucus, especially as women are a key constituency for Labour, especially as they are a fair amount of the unionised workforce nowadays.

The Herald seems to have run the same calculation I have to determine list eligibility, as they note that a party vote returning 40 Labour seats, which with current polling is about 33%, (which is about 1% higher than the error bars on their current polling, so a difficult result to get even if Labour is under-polling this election) would be required to elect Mallard as a list MP. This almost has me hoping that we don’t move too far from current polling and end up with a NZ First-Green-Labour government, as I suspect this election would be Mallard’s last if he doesn’t make it in, and Labour desperately needs to shed some of the dead wood that’s still somehow making it into the top 40 list positions.

* By my count, there are 14 list-only candidates, although I wasn’t able to identify the Labour candidates for East Coast Bays, Epsom, or Hamilton West, (that last one likely due to Sue Moroney’s resignation for the 2017 election, so will need to undergo selection again) so it may be as few as 11, as last I heard Labour intended to run a candidate in every single electorate for 2017. (I believe even National doesn’t bother to do that, as they know they’ll lose the Māori electorates) There are some electorate-only MPs who aren’t incumbents from Māori electorates, however, so it may be the full 14. The people I couldn’t find electorate announcements for are:

1 Andrew Little
9 David Parker
12 Raymond Huo
21 (Willie Jackson)
-Electability threshold on current polling is here-
32 Trevor Mallard
36 Anahila Kanongata`a-Suisuiki
43 Lemauga Lydia
49 Naisi Chen
64 Linsey Higgins
67 Michelle Lomax
69 Gaurav Sharma
72 Sarah Packer
73 Andy Begg

I’m 100% sure that Little, Parker, Huo, Mallard, Lydia, Packer, and Begg are all list-only, as they have either been confirmed as such by the media or lost their selection races to confirmed electorate candidates. There are also four electorate candidates that, with current polling suggesting about 34-36 seats for Labour, would likely be elected through the list despite running in blue electorates:

11 Pryanca Radhakrishnan
14 Jan Tinetti
16 Willow-Jean Prime (who is also the Māori MP ranked highest on the list)
20 (Kiri Allen)
-Electability threshold is here-
28 Jo Luxton
30 Liz Craig
-Threshold below which candidates won’t enter Parliament if Labour loses key electorates-
31 Marja Lubeck
34 Tamati Coffey
35 Jamie Strange

I’ve also assumed for the purposes of this post that Greg O’Connor will win Ohariu. That’s not guaranteed even with the Greens generously pulling Tane Woodley out of the electorate, as we have no idea how portable highly liberal Green voters in Ohariu will be to someone as conservative as O’Connor. If O’Connor loses to Dunne, and Labour doesn’t lose a seat because of it, (on current polling averaging about 0.2%, Dunne would be an overflow seat, so nobody would lose a seat if he’s elected. If he’s not an overflow, then whoever would otherwise get the 120th seat will lose out, and there’s no way to know that without knowing the relative party vote totals) then Jo Luxton is in. Same with Kelvin Davis losing Te Tai Tokerau- he did well out of the three-way split with the Māori Party in the race, which is withdrawing from TTT for 2017, which means he has to have improved his vote in order to win. If both of them lose, Liz Craig will make it in too, assuming Labour doesn’t manage to flip more blue electorates to red than National manages to. Once we start considering too many more marginal electorates, the whole thing gets a bit more complicated. Suffice to say, I think it’s unlikely Labour will flip more than 5 electorates this year, and I think if it is flipping marginal blue electorates, then that is likely to mean an increased Party Vote, too, so it’s not too worth discussing in the context of their List.

The two candidates with names in brackets earlier are those that are marginal based on current polling, and will require a Labour vote at least as strong as my polling average currently suggests to be elected- that is, Labour need to be polling at least 29% to elect them. The three most recent polls all have Labour above that threshold, and they’ve been mostly hovering around 30% since 2017 started, so it would probably require a big screw-up to get them lower than that, or a very strong electorate showing compared to their Party vote reducing the number of effective list places, however, 2014 already had a very weak Party vote relative to electorate showings, so it’s unlikely to happen again now that the Labour Party is united.

The other candidates likely to win their electorates that I haven’t mentioned are:

2 Jacinda Ardern
3 Grant Robertson
4 Phil Twyford
5 Megan Woods
6 Chris Hipkins
7 Carmel Sepuloni
10 Stuart Nash
13 Ian Lees-Galloway
15 Aupito Willaim Sio
17 Damien O’Connor
18 Jenny Salesa
19 Kris Faafoi
22 Clare Curran
23 Ruth Dyson
24 Poto Williams
25 Louisa Wall
26 Michael Wood
27 Ginny Andersen
-Candidates below this threshold must win their electorates to get into Parliament-
29 Deborah Russel
33 Paul Eagle
40 Greg O’Connor
(E) Nanaia Mahuta
(E) Meka Whaitiri
(E) Peeni Henare
(E) Adrian Rurawhe
(E) Kelvin Davis
(E) Rino Tirikatene

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