She’s staying: Annette King quietly tells Andrew Little he can’t have her seat

Richard Harman at Politik reports:

From its eastern boundaries where the ?Wellywood? moviemakers (including Petr Jackson) live across through Miramar and Melrose, home to the first Labour Government?s first state houses, across the airport to Kilbirnie with its heavy European and Pacific Island migrant population then down to Cook Strait and Island Bay, with its high percentage of relatively affluent left wing and social activists (including Andrew Little) – you see New Zealand.

National wins the party vote here but Ms King holds it against that tide.

It?s easy to see why. She is a consummate local MP, attending almost every school fair, prize giving sports day or other local events. Her?s is a very familiar face.

The former school dental nurse came from a Labour family and she is instinctively Labour to her fingertips.

But her politics are tempered by her day to day experiences in her middle New Zealand electorate.

Annette King is a good local MP, even if she is one of the nastier Labour MPs.

For those who argue Labour is out of touch with New Zealand (and sometimes it looks that way), Annette King is the answer.

She has at times been regarded with some suspicion by the left of the party. She was certainly opposed to David Cunliffe as Leader but she supported Grant Robertson in the last leadership election.

Now she is effusive about Andrew Little to whom, of course, she is deputy.

?The combination of Andrew and me is really good,? she believes.

??We get on well together.

?He?s got lots of strengths but there are lots of things I can add.?

Annette King isn’t much liked by many in the party, both left and right. She has been front and centre in driving out of Labour anyone in an active role who has a slightly differing view to the official party line.

She believes that a party needs both enthusiasm and youth and enthusiasm and age and experience. It is the latter that she provides.

She also credits Little with being an excellent caucus chair who has brought unit to the parliamentary Party and perhaps surprisingly she praises the work done by Chief of Staff and former unionist and Alliance MP, Matt McCarten, with unifying the staff behind Little.

She says she never wanted to the Leader herself.

?That?s because later in life I found love.

?I?ve now got grand kids and I want a balance where I can love my politics; love my job but I can also spend time with Ray (Lind, her husband who she married 20 years after her first marriage ended in divorce).?

That balance that she seeks has given rise to speculation that this might be her last term in Parliament.

However she says she will be standing again at the next election.

And she?s available to continue on as deputy leader.

Excellent. Annette King is 68, and will be 70 if the election is held after September next year. She first entered parliament in 1984, in the Lange government, which dispatched Muldoon in a landslide. She has?been in parliament for 28?years or 10 election cycles, missing out in the Bolger landslide of 1990 for one term.

I’m glad the old duck is standing again. It will show the new and invigorated face of the Labour party under Andrew Little.


– Politik