Newcomers jump up NZ First list

MP Andrew Williams had previously been given a low ranking of 13. Photo / Mark Mitchell
MP Andrew Williams had previously been given a low ranking of 13. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Two fresh faces have been catapulted up the New Zealand First ranks as the party dumped sitting MP Andrew Williams and demoted MP Asenati Lole-Taylor to a virtually unwinnable position.

If New Zealand First crosses the crucial 5 per cent threshold, economics lecturer Fletcher Tabuteau and Tauranga city councillor Clayton Mitchell will both become MPs.

Mr Williams, the former North Shore Mayor, went to ground after being unceremoniously discarded from the list, released yesterday.

He had previously been given a low ranking of 13. His subsequent complaints appear to have cost him his parliamentary career with the party.

He told the Herald last week that Tracey Martin saw him as a threat to the deputy leadership and wanted him "removed".

Asked about Mr Williams, party leader Winston Peters said: "The consequences of not understanding the needs of the party and caucus are huge and they cannot be avoided.

"When you enter an arrangement to keep it confidential so that it has got some integrity about it, you're expected to stick to it."

Mr Tabuteau, 39, is a former teacher and current head of the business school at the Waiariki Institute of Technology. He wants to focus on regional development for Rotorua.

Mr Mitchell, 42, drew criticism for wanting to stay on with the council if he was an Opposition MP, but has since left his fate to an online poll; last night 70 per cent of voters wanted him to quit the council if elected to Parliament.

Mrs Lole-Taylor, who has used the term "blow job" in the House and once claimed the Reserve Bank was run by overseas bankers, said her position of 16 meant she had a lot of work to do to win the Labour stronghold of Manukau East.

"There is nothing I can do about the listing ... What's the other attitude you want me to do, cry?"

Carterton Mayor Ron Mark said his position at nine was "helpful".

He was confident of winning the Wairarapa seat. "The unthinkable is certainly do-able."

NZ First's top 10

1 Winston Peters
2 Tracey Martin
3 Richard Prosser
4 Fletcher Tabuteau
5 Barbara Stewart
6 Clayton Mitchell
7 Denis O'Rourke
8 Pita Paraone
9 Ron Mark
10 Darroch Ball

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