From NZ Stuff,1 comes an interesting item on list-ranking and regionalization in advance of the 2008 New Zealand election. I will quote the full text here, with some points emphasized, and then with some brief comments appended.
Labour’s Maori caucus chairman, Dave Hereora, has been guided toward the exit door by Labour Party hierarchy after being bumped down the party’s northern region list.
The snub is contained in his 11th placing on the party’s northern region list, a copy of which has been leaked to The Dominion Post.
The list placement exercise is part of Labour’s strategy of showing the door before the election to MPs and candidates perceived to be underperforming.
Mr Hereora’s placement could make him pay the penalty for Labour’s low polling against the Maori Party in the seven Maori electorates.
Recent TVNZ Marae programme poll results have the Maori Party poised to win all seven Maori seats in this year’s election.
Labour president Mike Williams and Prime Minister Helen Clark presided over the northern region list placement meeting in Auckland last weekend.
Labour splits the country into five regions, the northern region spanning from the Far North to Waikato.
A quarter of Labour’s existing line-up is expected to be eased, prodded and kicked out the door before the general election.
As expected, Miss Clark heads the northern region list field among the 12 sitting MPs seeking list placings.
Among the party’s up-and-comers on the northern list are Sua William Sio (13th position), who is poised to enter Parliament next month and stand for Labour in the Mangere electorate – a position vacated by Taito Phillip Field when he quit the party last year.
Mr Sio will replace Dianne Yates as a list MP.
Manurewa MP George Hawkins and Manukau MP Ross Robertson did not seek list positions.
Labour should name its national list in May, after holding its annual conference in Wellington next month.
Mr Hereora could not be reached for comment.
Labour’s northern region list rankings:
1. Helen Clark*
2. Phil Goff*
3. Chris Carter*
4. David Cunliffe*
5. Shane Jones*
6. Judith Tizard*
7. Mark Gosche*
8. Lynne Pillay*
9. Ashraf Choudhary*
10. Darien Fenton*
11. Dave Hereora*
12. Louisa Wall*
13. Sua William Sio
14. Raymond Huo
15. Phil Twyford
16. Hamish McCracken
17. Carmel Sepulone
18. Kelvin Davis
19. Michael Wood
20. Kate Sutton
* denotes sitting MPs
Interesting in several details. First, I was not aware of any New Zealand party’s practice of informally regionalising what is, for purposes of (interparty) seat allocation, a national list. Second, it is quite striking that the party is punishing a leader of an internal caucus based on evidence that he is not bringing votes to the party from his constituent group. Finally, it is not clear to me how bad an 11th rank within a regional list is, but apparently the answer would be pretty bad, as in marginal2: In 2005, the party won only 19 list seats nationally. Given MMP, that number obviously increases to some extent if the party loses nominal-tier district seats, but decreases again the farther the party-list vote falls (and it is expected to fall in the upcoming election.)
Finally, it is, of course, very striking that the Maori Party may win all seven (nominal-tier) seats reserved for election from the special Maori voter registry. That would create four or five “overhangs” and make post-electoral bargaining quite interesting (and potentially reverse the aggregate vote result).