East Auckland vortex
With Labour on full attack mode - Hodgeson mode - no wonder Pansy has packed it in early. Being such a mediocre performer in the Cabinet there wasn't any chance of her returning and that probably sealed the decision - rather than getting her husband Sammy out of the papers. The dirt looks to be there I would say, or why else would Labour go to such lengths as Pansyfacts? By quitting early - "wesigning from parliamen" in her self-described Pansy-speak - she's taken the momentum out of the Labour charge and now Labour faces a by-election in her Botany electorate in which the Nats will romp home - finally reversing the two by-election defeats this term in the safe Labour seats of Mt Albert and Mana.
By-elections are a bit precarious and taxing and I doubt most parties would relish one - especially in election year as this will be (5 March for Botany) - and the wisdom of having one only three or four months before the election (which may well be as early as August) looks pointless. An East Auckland resident and blogger reckons the new Howick Councillor, Jami-Lee Ross, would be a front-runner. He would be the next Simon Bridges/Sam Lotu-Iinga if he pulled that off - if he wanted the job.
That area of Auckland is already busy: Louisa Wall - dumped down the list to oblivion by Helen Clark has been selected to stand in Hawkins' Manurewa electorate - a fact that has opened the union ructions for all to see due to the Labour President's pathetic outburst against Hawkins. Little really is. Ross Robertson's seat of Manuakau East - neghbouring both Botany and Manurewa will be one to watch. Robertson has been on the right-wing and on the outer since the tide changed in the early 90s and hasn't been in the executive even though he's been an MP since 1987. My pick for that selection is that if Kate Sutton doesn't get Te Atatu (Phil Twyford must surely strike it lucky and be selected there... surely?) then she will stand for Manukau East. She is a community board member for the Tamaki ward and was the chairman last time round (not sure what the situation is now). Whether Robertson will go next year is moot.