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Chris Hipkins launching Labour’s election slogan in July (Photo: Toby Manhire)
Chris Hipkins launching Labour’s election slogan in July (Photo: Toby Manhire)

PoliticsJuly 31, 2023

The movers and shakers of Labour’s 2023 election list

Chris Hipkins launching Labour’s election slogan in July (Photo: Toby Manhire)
Chris Hipkins launching Labour’s election slogan in July (Photo: Toby Manhire)

There have been big jumps for new ministers, big dips for older ones – and just a light drop of new blood. Stewart Sowman-Lund reports from Wellington.

Labour has confirmed its election list, effectively the order in which MPs will make it into parliament depending on the outcome of the party vote. There are few surprises, though also few new names within the safe zone. On current polling, the party’s poised to return about 40 members of parliament, meaning a number of sitting MPs who rode the red wave in 2020 will be out of a job. On those numbers and on this list, just a handful of new names will join Labour’s caucus after October 14, while a number of backbenchers will be out of a job. Let’s take a closer look.

Who is in the top five?

That would be Chris Hipkins, Kelvin Davis, Carmel Sepuloni, Grant Robertson and Megan Woods. It’s a little different, though for obvious reasons, to the 2020 list that had Jacinda Ardern, Kelvin Davis, Grant Robertson, Phil Twyford and Megan Woods fill out the top of the list. Of course, Ardern is no longer the prime minister and Grant Robertson is no longer the deputy. Kelvin Davis has retained his role as deputy leader of the Labour Party, meaning he takes the second slot even without the deputy prime ministership. 

So what happened to Phil Twyford?

He’s plummeted out of the top 10, the top 20… the top 30. He’s way down at 49, which would likely be an unwinnable slot if he was pinning his hopes on the list alone. But Twyford is likely to make it back via his Te Atatū electorate, which he’s held since 2011 and is seen as a safe Labour seat. In 2020, Twyford won it with a 11,000 vote margin. But he’s suffered the most serious demotion – 45 places – on the new list. Prime minister Chris Hipkins said it was simply a reflection that Twyford was no longer a minister and denied wanting him out of parliament.

Phil Twyford (Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Who makes up the rest of the top 20?

The top 20 consists solely of current cabinet ministers, generally ordered by their existing place around the cabinet table. With the recent sacking of Michael Wood from cabinet and Kiri Allan’s decision to quit parliament, there were some holes to be plugged. Willow-Jean Prime launches up from 36th spot to nine – the biggest winner on the new list – with Jo Luxton slotting in at number 19, rising 20 places from 2020.

Were there any other big winners?

Yes, largely from newer ministerial talent. Barbara Edmonds jumps from 49 to 18, Ginny Andersen 45 to 17 and Jan Tinetti 32 to six. All have taken on hefty ministerial responsibilities over this term of government, with Andersen recently being given the justice portfolio after Kiri Allan’s resignation.

And where is Michael Wood now?

He’s hanging out in the Twyford zone at number 45, dropping from 23 in 2020. It seems unlikely he could make it back in from that position, but Wood is also standing in the safe Labour seat of Mount Roskill, so his place in parliament seems fairly secure. The prime minister told media that – like with Twyford – it was just a reflection of the fact Wood wasn’t a minister any more. “I’m absolutely confident that Michael’s going to run a strong campaign in Mount Roskill,” said Hipkins. “He’s still working through those issues around his shares, there’s still a little bit of water to flow under the bridge there… If you look where he’s ranked, he’s ranked, broadly speaking, consistently with other members of the caucus who are not ministers.” 

Michael Wood (Photo: Lynn Grieveson/Getty Images)

Who is the lowest-ranked current MP?

That would be Lemauga Lydia Sosene, who is ranked at 53. 

Anyone not on the list?

Some – like Gaurav Sharma and Meka Whaitiri – aren’t on the list this time round because they aren’t part of the Labour Party any more. Others, like Nanaia Mahuta and Greg O’Connor, are running electorate-only campaigns, meaning they are taking a gamble and will have to win their seat to make it back into parliament.

What about new blood?

The highest-ranked newcomer is Georgie Dansey at 31, who was the runner-up in last year’s Hamilton West byelection. She’s vying for the Hamilton East seat in October. She may not need to win it, however, as she’s leapfrogged a handful of sitting MPs who are at a far higher risk of losing out in October. Dansey is ahead of Tāmati Coffey (36, who was yesterday announced to be standing in Kiri Allan’s East Coast seat), Anna Lorck (40), Rachel Boyack (42), Angie Warren-Clark (43) and Liz Craig (44). 

Dansey was last on the list going into the 2020 election, when she was ranked at number 84.

Another well-ranked newcomer is Toni Boynton, who is at number 39. She’ll also be taking on Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi in Waiariki. George Hampton – a small business owner and UN climate leader who’s running in the North Shore seat – is just behind on 41, while lawyer Fleur Fitzsimons (running in Rongotai) is at 56 and TV producer (running in Christchurch East) Reuben Davidson is at 57.

Hipkins said there were a “variety of different factors” taken into account when determining who got what list position, including geography and diversity. And in the case of Dansey: “We do consider people’s history of candidacy when we make decisions about where they end up on the list. I think Georgie flew the flag very proudly and very positively for us in the byelection.”

Georgie Dansey (second from left) alongside her Hamilton West byelection opponents James McDowall (Act), Tama Potaka (National) and Gaurav Sharma (independent). (Screengrab)

Did Kiri Allan’s resignation affect the list process?

According to Hipkins, no. He said there was no extra reshuffling beyond the ascension of Jo Luxton, but added that: “We are very disappointed that things came to that point with Kiri.”

He also noted that with Allan’s departure and Nanaia Mahuta opting to run electorate-only, he was conscious of ensuring Māori representation in the top 20.

What else did the prime minister say about the new list?

That’s he’s confident going into the election. “We’re in this to win it, we’re going to be significantly increasing our share of the party vote from what we’re seeing based on current polls. Our campaign’s only just warming up.”

He also wouldn’t speculate on who may or may not make it back to parliament after the election, but acknowledged that with a “very large caucus” there had to be tough decisions.

Can I see the full list?

Sure. Here you go.

1 Chris Hipkins
2 Kelvin Davis
3 Carmel Sepuloni
4 Grant Robertson
5 Megan Woods
6 Jan Tinetti
7 Ayesha Verrall
8 Willie Jackson
9 Willow-Jean Prime
10 Damien O’Connor
11 Adrian Rurawhe
12 Andrew Little
13 David Parker
14 Peeni Henare
15 Priyanca Radhakrishnan
16 Kieran McAnulty
17 Ginny Andersen
18 Barbara Edmonds
19 Jo Luxton
20 Duncan Webb
21 Rino Tirikatene
22 Deborah Russell
23 Rachel Brooking
24 Jenny Salesa
25 Tangi Utikere
26 Camilla Belich
27 Tracey McLellan
28 Shanan Halbert
29 Glen Bennett
30 Vanushi Walters
31 Georgie Dansey
32 Dan Rosewarne
33 Naisi Chen
34 Anahila Kanongata’a
35 Angela Roberts
36 Tāmati Coffey
37 Ibrahim Omer
38 Neru Leavasa
39 Toni Boynton
40 Anna Lorck
41 George Hampton
42 Rachel Boyack
43 Angie Warren-Clark
44 Liz Craig
45 Michael Wood
46 Terisa Ngobi
47 Helen White
48 Arena Williams
49 Phil Twyford
50 Steph Lewis
51 Sarah Pallett
52 Ingrid Leary
53 Lemauga Lydia Sosene
54 Parewhati Taikato
55 Estefania Muller-Pallarès
56 Fleur Fitzsimons
57 Reuben Davidson
58 Nick Ruane
59 Fesaitu Solomone
60 Mark Hutchinson
61 Nerissa Henry
62 Myra Williamson
63 Oscar Sims
64 Aladdin Al-Bustanji
65 Gwendoline Keel
66 Kharag Singh
67 Emma Dewhirst
68 Zulfiqar Butt
69 Ben Sandford
70 Simon McCullum
71 Guy Wishart
72 Deborah Rhodes
73 Jamie Toko
74 Luke Jones
75 Beryl Riley
76 Ethan Reille

Keep going!