One Question Quiz
nanaia mahuta michael wood and tamati cofee on a red background
(Image: Archi Banal)

PoliticsOctober 17, 2023

Which Labour MPs have been washed away by the outgoing red tide?

nanaia mahuta michael wood and tamati cofee on a red background
(Image: Archi Banal)

Goodbye to Nanaia Mahuta, Tāmati Coffey, Michael Wood and a whole lot more. (* result may change after special votes)

Michael Wood (45th on the list, Mount Roskill) 

It’s been a bad year for Michael Wood – from being overlooked for the Labour leadership to losing his ministerships in the Auckland Airport shares fiasco – culminating in him losing Mount Roskill, widely considered one of Labour’s safest seats. Although he had a disappointing year, Wood was still one of the safest pairs of hands during the Ardern-Hipkins era. He deserves a special mention for setting up fair pay agreements (which National is set to repeal) and being as solid a sustainable transport advocate as anyone from a major party can be. The question surrounding Wood now is what his next move will be. Returning to the Puketāpapa local board seems beneath him, so might he follow his mentor Phil Goff’s lead and head to Auckland Council in 2025? Only time will tell. 

Phil Twyford (39th, Te Atatū)*

Twyford is currently only 30 votes behind National’s Angee Nicholas in Te Atatū, so this result could change after the specials have been counted. But even a narrow victory in Labour’s previously ultra-secure West Auckland homeland must sting. Twyford has been an MP since 2008 and had heaps and heaps of ministerial portfolios before losing his position in cabinet after the 2020 election and losing his outside of cabinet portfolios earlier this year. The widely publicised failure of Kiwibuild while he was housing minister has been largely laid on Twyford’s shoulders. Phil Twyford’s middle name is Stoner – do with that what you will. 

Nanaia Mahuta (electorate only, Hauraki-Waikato)

Until she was upset in historic fashion by 21-year-old Hana-Rāwhiti Maipi-Clarke, Mahuta was our longest-serving female parliamentarian – having been an MP for 27 consecutive years. She was elected as a rangatahi at the age of 26 and has spent over half her life as an MP, serving as a minister in both Helen Clark’s and Ardern/Hipkin’s Labour governments. Although Mahuta was abandoned by Hauraki-Waikato voters this year, she had nonetheless been a strong advocate for te ao Māori over her long career. Additionally, her ascension as New Zealand’s first female foreign minister – as a wahine Māori no less – will inspire generations of mokopuna to come. 

Tāmati Coffey with some kai (Image: Charlotte Muru-Lanning)

Tāmati Coffey (36th, East Coast)*

Coffey announced that he was planning to retire earlier this year so he could spend more time with his family – he and his husband have young kids. But when Kiri Allan resigned, Coffey replaced her candidacy in the East Coast seat, where he was roundly ousted by National’s Dana Kirkpatrick. The Spinoff’s Charlotte Muru-Lanning met Coffey for her profile of the East Coast seat earlier this month, where he was certainly recognisable thanks to his career on television before parliament, and emphasised that the area needed an experienced MP as it recovers from Cyclone Gabrielle. 

looking across a harbour with an island in the middle in the morning light
Looking across Lyttleton Harbour in the Banks Peninsula electorate (Photo: Shanti Mathias)

Shanan Halbert (28th, Northcote)

It was a long path to parliament for Shanan Halbert. He was a list-only candidate in 2014, then unsuccessfully contested Northcote in 2017 and the 2020 by-election, before finally flipping the seat during the 2020 red wave election. His one term in parliament was rocked by bullying allegations in which he was both the victim and aggressor. National’s Tim van de Molen was censured by parliament for intimidating and threatening behaviour toward Halbert, then soon afterwards Halbert was accused of bullying and manipulative behaviour by several of his own staff. He’s had high-powered jobs in tertiary education before and will probably return to that field. 

(With Andrew Little announcing his retirement on Tuesday 17 October, Halbert is set to safely return to parliament).

Glen Bennett (29th, New Plymouth) 

A bit of a surprise MP, Glen Bennett is a former community worker and local Labour branch member who ran unopposed for the party nomination in New Plymouth, a seat Labour hadn’t even come close to winning with Andrew Little as the candidate. As with many Labour MPs, the red wave of 2020 unexpectedly swept him into parliament. 

Vanushi Walters (30th, Upper Harbour) 

Walters, who is of Sri Lankan descent, is a human rights lawyer; she was ranked 22 on the Labour list in 2020, but was 30 on the list this time. Her legal background meant that she was a deputy chair on the Justice Select Committee during her term.  Walters was decisively beaten by National candidate Cameron Brewer.

Dan Rosewarne (32nd, Waimakariri) 

Rosewarne, a former military officer, framed himself as one of Labour’s few remaining working class MPs. He trained as an auto mechanic, and was deployed to Afghanistan. Half-Samoan (talofa!), he has spoken about how his experience of receiving cancer treatment made him advocate for resourcing Pharmac while in parliament. Elected off the list in 2022 after Kris Faafoi and Trevor Mallard resigned, the electorate Rosewarne was contesting has been held by National since 2011; combined with his list ranking, it was an inevitable long shot for the MP. 

Naisi Chen (33rd, East Coast Bays) 

Chen was elected at age 26, the second-youngest MP in the house. She was the president of the New Zealand Chinese Students’ Association. She sought the Labour nomination in Auckland Central, but instead returned to East Coast Bays, where she was defeated by Erica Stanford, just as had happened in 2017.

Anahila Kanongata’a (34th, Papakura)

First elected in 2017, Kanongata’a was a list MP for two terms. She co-led the Aotearoa Tonga Relief Committee after the volcanic eruption and tsunami in 2022, and gained a lot of attention for doing bilingual Tongan-English videos of the 1pm briefings during Covid. She voted for socially conservative options on several high profile conscience votes, against decriminialising abortion, and creating safe areas around abortion providers. She also voted no on the the end of life choice and cannabis referenda. 

Angela Roberts (35th, Taranaki-King Country)

A former teacher and president of the PPTA, Roberts made it into parliament at 50th on the party list in 2020 after losing the deep blue Taranaki-King Country electorate. She may be best remembered for being slapped by an aggressive member of the public at a campaign debate in Inglewood. 

Ibrahim Omer (37th, Wellington Central) 

Ibrahim Omer will go down in history as New Zealand’s first MP of African descent. He had the most powerful story in politics: a refugee who worked as a cleaner at Victoria University while he saved up to get his education. After being elected as a List-only MP in 2020, he introduced a member’s bill to criminalise wage theft by employers. When Grant Robertson switched to list-only, Wellington Central was seen as a safe Labour seat, but the Greens changed the equation by running Tamatha Paul. Omer is a union man and well-liked within the Labour Party, so there’s a strong chance he’ll get another crack at parliament in the future if he wants it. 

Neru Leavasa (38th, Takanini)

An Auckland-born Samoan, Dr Leavasa comes from a political family, as several of his relatives were politicians back home in Samoa – his uncle even being the current head of state. Before entering parliament, Leavasa spent 12 years as a GP and sports doctor in Māngere before being elected to the Māngere-Otahuhu local board. In 2020, he won the newly created Takanini electorate, which experts had picked as going to National, so it should come as no surprise that amongst the Blue-tide this election, Leavasa lost the seat to National’s Rima Nakle. 

Anna Lorck (40th, Tukituki)

After two unsuccessful runs in 2014 and 2017, Lorck wrested the Tuiktuki seat from former Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule in 2020. She was fairly prominent as the local MP during Cyclone Gabrielle. Two senior parliamentary staffers accused Lorck of bullying during her one term as an MP. 

Rachel Boyack (42nd, Nelson)*

Had a really strong local profile as a union leader and a volunteer for lots of community groups, including Nelson’s Environment Centre and the Women’s and Children’s Refuge. Fair Pay Agreements for retail workers were her top priority – something Labour did achieve but National has promised to repeal. She says her crowning achievement in parliament was securing a $73 million cash injection for Nelson hospital. Like McLellan, Boyack’s return to parliament may depend on how the special votes fall, as she’s currently only 54 votes behind National’s Blair Cameron. 

Angie Warren-Clark (43rd, Whangārei)

Papamoa local Angie Warren-Clark spent two terms as a Labour list MP. She contested Bay of Plenty in 2017, losing to former National Party leader Todd Muller by 13,996 votes – only getting in off the list after special votes were counted. In her second Bay of Plenty contest, Warren-Clark trimmed Muller’s majority to only 3,415 votes. This election, however, she contested Whangārei, losing to senior National MP Shane Reti by 10,010 votes. The Whangārei results, coupled with Warren-Clark’s 43rd-placed list ranking, means the former domestic/family violence advocate is now leaving parliament.

Liz Craig (44th, Invercargill) 

Craig is a trained public health physician who has been a list MP since 2017.  She chaired the health select committee from 2020 to 2022, and has a background in preventing child poverty and its impact on wellbeing. According to her profile, she’s appreciated being able to make a difference to some of the causes of poor health while in parliament.

Terisa Ngobi (46th, Ōtaki)

Ōtaki is a swingy electorate, and the resignation of National incumbent Nathan Guy gave Labour the opening it needed. Terisa Ngobi had to be convinced to run, but it worked out in her favour. She’s been a solid electorate MP; she claims credit for expanding train services to Levin and funding a new wetland for Lake Horowhenua. 

a woman wearing a red shirt sitting on a blue couch with a smile and a election 2023 spinoff logo on top
Labour’s Sarah Pallett had a rough go in Ilam (Image: Shanti Mathias/ Archi Banal)

Sarah Pallet (51st, Ilam) 

As the red wave crested across the country in 2020, there was no more unlikely electorate flip than Ilam, where Sarah Pallet washed out Gerry Brownlee after 24 years and eight consecutive election victories. A former midwife, she was prominent on health issues as an MP including a successful push to have birthing injuries covered by ACC. The path to re-election was always going to be narrow in a traditionally blue seat, but it all but closed once Top’s Raf Manji entered the race and split a chunk of the left-leaning vote. 

Soraya Peke-Mason (electorate only, Te Tai Hauāuru)

In the Te Tai Hauāuru electorate, Soraya Peke Mason was the runner-up to Debbie Ngarewa-Packer – the well-known co-leader of the resurgent Te Pāti Māori. But when Peke Mason first entered parliament in 2022 upon the resignation of Trevor Mallard, she made history by making the gender split of parliament equal for the first time. Before parliament, she spent 18 years in local government within the Ratana Community Board and the Rangitīkei District Council. With Peke Mason losing her seat, the Ratana representation in parliament will shrink, only being represented by her cousin and former speaker of the house, Adrian Rurawhe.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly had Camilla Belich and Tracey McLellan heading for the exit. Apologies. 

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