Dunedin South MP Clare Curran is one of five Labour MPs
to have declined places on the Labour Party list, the others
being Trevor Mallard, Ruth Dyson, Rino Tirikatene and Kris
At current polling of around 29%, Labour deputy leader David
Parker is guaranteed to return to Parliament on the list,
being ranked second behind leader David Cunliffe, who is
expected to easily retain his New Lynn electorate.
Other MPs at risk of losing their jobs if Labour does not
start to turn around the polls are two potential leadership
candidates - Jacinda Adern, who may return depending on how
many electorates are won, and Andrew Little, who is unlikely
to win the National-held New Plymouth electorate, where he
stood at the last election.
Clayton Cosgrove needs to win back the Waimakariri seat to
make sure he returns to Parliament, despite being ranked
sixth on the list.
Kelvin Davis, who dropped down the list at the last election,
and only returned to Parliament after several others left,
has a massive battle on his hands to remain an MP.
To return, Mr Davis, often touted as a future party leader,
needs to defeat Mana leader Hone Harawira in Te Tai Tokerau.
Labour's list is made up of 30 men and 34 women, following a
gender quota the party passed last year to ensure women were
represented in Parliament.
The problem for Labour is sitting MPs, including the four not
on the list, may win their electorates, forcing the list MPs
further down the list.
List MPs only get back into Parliament after the sitting MPs,
and return on the strength of the party vote.
Labour is on target to win 28 electorate seats, putting all
of its top list candidates at risk if they do not win an
electorate or the party fails to poll above 32%.
Ms Curran told the Otago Daily Times, which received
the list by email before the MP, she was focusing on a strong
campaign to retain Dunedin South.
''I'm 100% committed to the party vote around Dunedin and the
region. My total focus will be on this campaign and that is
behind my decision to withdraw from the list.''
At the last election, Ms Curran's majority was reduced in the
electorate by National Party list MP Jo Hayes and National
won the party vote in the electorate.
This time, the National Party has chosen Hamish Walker, one
of its youngest candidates at 29, to stand in Dunedin South.
Returning south from Auckland, Mr Walker was born and bred in
Dunedin and has family ties to the city stretching back 160
Mr Tirikatene, the grandson and nephew of two former Southern
Maori or Te Tai Tonga MPs, has made little impact in
Parliament since 2011 and faces a stern challenge from Maori
Party candidate Ngaire Button, a former deputy mayor of
Former MP Stuart Nash has opted to stand only for the Napier
seat being vacated by National MP Chris Tremain and perennial
Southern candidate Lesley Soper's chances of returning to
Parliament rest on her winning Invercargill, as her name is
missing from the list.
University of Otago political scientist Bryce Edwards said
the list appeared to be a ''well crafted'' one which would
keep the factions within Labour happy.
However, it did not seem adventurous, failing to bring in
fresh faces to provide a new focus for the party.
''Labour has managed a list that doesn't allow them to get
caricatured as political correctness gone mad but they've
come up with something that doesn't look glamorous.
''Labour needs to avoid more bad publicity and it has missed
the opportunity. The top 10 needs to be a game-changer and
this list doesn't do that.''
Asked if he thought Labour would start polling higher closer
to the election to allow more list candidates to be elected,
Dr Edwards said Labour faced the same situation as National
did in 2002 when people were more likely to move away from a
party seen as not popular.