The strategies of candidates and parties in mixed-member systems can be fascinating. Here is one current example from New Zealand, where voters will go to the polls in late November (at the same time as they vote in the first stage of a process to review or possibly replace MMP).
Christchurch East MP Lianne Dalziel will not stand on her party’s list this election, saying if the people from Christchurch do not want her to return as their electorate MP she would prefer to leave Parliament altogether.
Ms Dalziel is one of only two MPs who have spurned the safety of the party’s list for the election this November.
Her career is an interesting one, as in 1996 she was elected a list-only candidate. She says she did “not enjoy” being a list-only MP because it meant a less close connection with constituents. (NZ Herald, 8 April.)
She is an MP for Labour, and won her district (electorate) easily in 2008, with 52.9% of the vote; the closest challenger was the National Party candidate, with 35.9%. So unless there is a huge swing (unlikely, given that 2008 already saw a large swing towards National), she is not exactly putting her career on the line by giving up a list slot.
The Labour Party has now released its party list for the upcoming election.
The former President and now Labour’s candidate for New Plymouth, Andrew Little, is the highest placed non-MP, at number 15.
The other non-MP with a winnable spot at number 26 is Deborah Mahuta-Coyle, a member of party leader Phil Goff’s media team.
The top 14 list places are held by senior, sitting MPs, headed by Mr Goff and his deputy, Annette King. (Radio NZ, 10 April; see the link for the full list.)
Meanwhile, Richard Long in the Dominion Post, decries the party’s list nominations as “gazumping the electoral process” and “little short of gerrymandering.”
Long wants MMM instead–which is the option on the referendum ballot referred to as “Supplementary Member.” It seems to me that if you don’t like gazumping and gerrymandering, you should like MMM a good deal less than MMP.
More on the Labour list and its “new blood,” including candidates with union backgrounds, and on repeat candidates with changed list positions at the NZ Herald, 10 April.