Jacinda Ardern with a hoarding featuring Jacinda Ardern in August 2017. Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images
Jacinda Ardern with a hoarding featuring Jacinda Ardern in August 2017. Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images

PoliticsJune 15, 2020

The winners and losers of Labour’s 2020 election list

Jacinda Ardern with a hoarding featuring Jacinda Ardern in August 2017. Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images
Jacinda Ardern with a hoarding featuring Jacinda Ardern in August 2017. Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images

Labour has announced the party list they’ll take into the 2020 election, and there are a few surprises.

What’s all this then?

Labour have put forward the 84 people who will be on their list for the 2020 election. If the party gets its way, those names will basically be a list of who’s who in the next government.

Are there any big surprise entries?

The biggest coup for the party is Dr Ayesha Verrall, an academic and sitting DHB member who has recently been prominent in shoring up the government’s contact tracing system. She’ll be coming in at number 18 on the list, just one spot behind the incumbent health minister David Clark. Incidentally, his long-term career as health minister looked in serious trouble after he made repeated blunders around lockdown levels, so you could definitely assume that there’s now a natural candidate to take over. Verrall is almost certain to get into parliament on these numbers, and Clark has dropped eight spots. He may soon have to content himself as being the MP for Dunedin North.

Apart from that, lawyers feature heavily among Labour’s crop of star new candidates. Their press release promoted human rights lawyer Vanushi Walters (23), employment lawyer Camilla Belich (32), lawyer and company director Rachel Brooking (48), lawyer and former student politician Arena Williams (60) and tax specialist lawyer Barbara Edmonds (51).

Who’s number one on the list?

The leader is pretty much always number one on the list, so that’s Jacinda Ardern. Deputy leader Kelvin Davis is at 2, and the guy many people mistakenly think is the deputy leader (finance minister Grant Robertson) is three. The top 17 overall is basically the cabinet rankings, super-imposed on the list, so some of the moves up reflect how the MP has moved over the term as a whole.

Who are the big upwards movers?

One that immediately jumps out is Trevor Mallard, who has gone from 33 to 11. It’s not quite what it seems though – the drop to 33 last time around partly reflected the fact that he was basically running for speaker only. If Labour was in a position to form a government, he’d probably be in parliament – and if it wasn’t in a position to do so, he probably wouldn’t have made it in.

Kris Faafoi and Jenny Salesa have also solidified places in the top 20, both moving up over the course of the term after being on the cusp of the top tier in 2017.

Has anyone suffered a really big drop down the rankings? 

Priyanca Radhakrishnan has gone down a long way, from 12 in 2017 to her new spot of 33. Jan Tinetti has also gone from 15 to 34, and Raymond Huo is down from 13 to 26. It’s unclear why these three have all seen such big drops.

Is anyone going list-only?

There are always a few MPs that are list-only, often because they’re quite busy. Faafoi is list-only now, along with David Parker and Willie Jackson in the top-20.

One MP who doesn’t quite fit this bill is Louisa Wall, who was controversially ousted from the Manurewa electorate selection by newcomer Arena Williams. She’ll be on the list, and is at number 29 – a relatively safe spot, but not as safe as being a Labour party candidate in Manurewa.

Are the Māori MPs back on the list?

Yes, they’ve all returned to list spots to go with their electorate contests. Labour swept the seven Māori seats in 2017 after their candidates all opted to go off the list. Now they’re back, and have been scattered through various spots. Apart from Davis (who stayed on the 2017 list as deputy leader) the highest ranked Māori electorate MP is Nanaia Mahuta, at 10. Some of the moves down the list are partly because Māori MPs have slotted in above them.

Are there any moves that are hard to fathom?

After a term of office which has been patchy on delivery, somehow transport minister Phil Twyford has gone up a spot from 2017 to number four. Again – that’s his cabinet ranking being converted into a list spot.

Justice minister Andrew Little has also moved down, from three to seven. His three in 2017 was largely because he voluntarily stepped aside to make way for a new leader right at the start of the election campaign, and still had the confidence of the party. He’s probably safe all the same.

National has been criticised for a lack of diversity on the front bench – is Labour any better?

Out of Labour’s top 10, you’re still as likely to see a Pākehā male as anyone else. But this isn’t really a problem for Labour in the same way.

Labour are polling hugely well at the moment – who gets in based on those numbers?

It’s not absolutely clear, and that could depend on electorate seats that Labour win. But in simple terms, if Labour’s current polling above 50% continues, they’ll win more than 60 seats in parliament. Broadly speaking, we could say that anyone in a winnable electorate is in the top 60 of the list, so if the numbers hold, they’ll all basically get in.

But the numbers might not hold, so for a few candidates it sets up a fascinating contest in their electorate race. An excellent example of this is Northcote candidate Shanan Halbert, at 53. Were Labour’s vote share to drop to less than 40%, he wouldn’t necessarily be in a position to take one of their approximately 45-50 seats in parliament. But he’s also in an electorate that has swung a bit in the past, and could do so again if Labour have a mighty surge that helps candidates in their individual races. Ironically, if he manages to win his electorate, he’ll probably also be in a position to come in on the list.

In a much safer position is an MP like Willow-Jean Prime, ranked 38 on the list. She’ll be running against NZ First’s Shane Jones and National’s Matt King in Northland, in a race that could have a major bearing on the composition of the next parliament. During the Northland by-election in 2015, Prime hung back a bit to give Winston Peters a clearer run – it could be that her place is secure enough to do that again, though at this stage there has been no indication of any electorate deals.

Tell me about last place on the list.

Someone’s gotta do it, and at number 84 we have Georgie Dansey. She’s a union organiser in Counties-Manukau with the Post Primary Teachers Association.

Go on, show us the whole list:

Here’s numbers 1-84.

  1. Jacinda Ardern
  2. Kelvin Davis
  3. Grant Robertson
  4. Phil Twyford
  5. Megan Woods
  6. Chris Hipkins
  7. Andrew Little
  8. Carmel Sepuloni
  9. David Parker
  10. Nanaia Mahuta
  11. Trevor Mallard
  12. Stuart Nash
  13. Iain Lees-Galloway
  14. Jenny Salesa
  15. Damien O’Connor
  16. Kris Faafoi
  17. David Clark
  18. Ayesha Verrall
  19. Peeni Henare
  20. Willie Jackson
  21. Aupito William Sio
  22. Poto Williams
  23. Vanushi Walters
  24. Michael Wood
  25. Adrian Rurawhe
  26. Raymond Huo
  27. Kiri Allan
  28. Kieran McAnulty
  29. Louisa Wall
  30. Meka Whaitiri
  31. Rino Tirikatene
  32. Camilla Belich
  33. Priyanca Radhakrishnan
  34. Jan Tinetti
  35. Deborah Russell
  36. Marja Lubeck
  37. Angie Warren-Clark
  38. Willow-Jean Prime
  39. Tamati Coffey
  40. Naisi Chen
  41. Jo Luxton
  42. Jamie Strange
  43. Liz Craig
  44. Ibrahim Omer
  45. Duncan Webb
  46. Anahila Kanongata’a-Suisuiki
  47. Ginny Andersen
  48. Rachel Brooking
  49. Paul Eagle
  50. Helen White
  51. Barbara Edmonds
  52. Angela Roberts
  53. Shanan Halbert
  54. Neru Leavasa
  55. Tracey McLellan
  56. Lemauga Lydia Sosene
  57. Steph Lewis
  58. Dan Rosewarne
  59. Rachel Boyack
  60. Arena Williams
  61. Ingrid Leary
  62. Soraya Peke-Mason
  63. Lotu Fuli
  64. Sarah Pallett
  65. Gaurav Sharma
  66. Emily Henderson
  67. Terisa Ngobi
  68. Kurt Taogaga
  69. Kerrin Leoni
  70. Reuben Davidson
  71. Zahra Hussaini
  72. Janet Holborow
  73. Romy Udanga
  74. Ala’ Al-Bustanji
  75. Glen Bennett
  76. Monina Hernandez
  77. Claire Mahon
  78. Jon Mitchell
  79. Nathaniel Blomfield
  80. Nerissa Henry
  81. Mathew Flight
  82. Shirin Brown
  83. Liam Wairepo
  84. Georgie Dansey
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