3 May 2017

Labour's fresh faces celebrate new list placings

5:43 am on 3 May 2017

Despite the rocky release of its party list, Labour is talking up its diverse line-up for this year's election.

Clockwise from top left: Kelvin Davis, Willie Jackson, Jacinda Ardern, Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Willow-Jean Prime and Andrew Little

Clockwise from top left: Kelvin Davis, Willie Jackson, Jacinda Ardern, Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Willow-Jean Prime and Andrew Little Photo: RNZ / Supplied

The list was made public a day late after some candidates complained about their placings.

Labour leader Andrew Little confirmed some people on the list were upset, including broadcaster Willie Jackson who flew to Wellington to make his disappointment clear, and Sue Moroney who ended up quitting.

But there were some new faces who were more than happy with their placing.

Labour wants half of its caucus to be women, a quarter of its caucus Māori, and it wants a more ethnically diverse line up of MPs.

After the last election, the party had noone of Indian or Chinese origin.

However, putting the highest ranking non-MP on the list, Priyanca Radhakrishnan, at number 11 will change that.

For her, addressing housing is at the top of the list of problems.

"I've experienced the housing crisis first-hand. When I moved up to Auckland I had applied, within a two and a half week period, to 55 houses and got nothing."

At number 12 on the Labour list is Raymond Huo.

He is the third MP of Chinese descent ever - and the only Labour MP of Chinese descent.

But a low-list placing at the last election left him outside parliament until Jacinda Ardern's by-election win in February.

Willie Jackson & Andrew Little

Willie Jackson & Andrew Little Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Mr Little said he wanted a list that was as reflective and representative of New Zealand as possible.

"We made the big mistake last time of having [Mr Huo and Ms Radhakrishnan] too far down and we've been in the embarrassing position until recently of having no Chinese or Indian MP for the Labour party."

Women make up eight of the top 20 places on the list. This year was also the first time half of the candidates on the party list have to be women.

Tauranga principal Jan Tinetti is a new face and received a high spot at 14.

She was not sure what was harder - dealing with children or politicians.

"[Laughs] I think there will be lots of similarities actually."

Ms Tinetti did not think the list release was poorly handled.

"That was probably democracy. People are encouraged in democracy to challenge and question, and I always think that's a good thing."

Labour holds six of seven Māori electorates, but none of their MPs are on the list, meaning they will have to win their seats if they want to get back into Parliament.

That means the highest placed Maori List candidate is lawyer Willow-Jean Prime at number 16.

She is Labour's candidate for Northland where she hoped to make a real impact.

"The important thing is supporting communities in terms of the provision of good education. Also in terms of things like community facilities, sporting facilities, all of those things that are needed for a vibrant community."

The National Party's list is due out sometime in August.

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