There has been much angsting online about Mr Phil Twyford, List MP for Labour, not being selected for a safe Auckland region electorate seat. He was considered a shoe-in for Mt Albert's by-election nomination until all that palaver about Judith Tizard coming in if he won, and then it was assumed he'd go for Auckland Central but Jacinda Ardern has, and finally a few weekends back he, and two other nominees, were beaten in a hotly contested selection for the candidacy in Waitakere. Twyford's work opposing the Auckland Super City has been pretty good, and he seems to be quite respected, with the exception of what is perceived as a failure in the area of getting himself an electorate spot to be comfy in.
Contrary to opinion in some parts of the blogosphere I don't think Mr Twyford missed out on Waitakere because he has a penis and not a vagina. But this post isn't about that.
I think Labour are missing a real opportunity here. One that not only could big up Phil T but could also strengthen them in the Auckland region, and show an understanding of MMP politics as it moves into (hopefully) its next phase.
There is an imho unhealthy obsession with the concept that only Electorate MPs are Real MPs (TM). It's rubbish. One of the most powerful ministers in Cabinet is a List MP (Steven Joyce), and for goodness sake for most of the time he was Minister of Finance in the last Government Michael Cullen was re-elected on the list, not in an electorate. Let go of the Electorate Supremacy, Phil.
So keep Phil a List MP. Embrace his flexibility as a List MP. Make him a List MP with a coordination role across the group of Auckland-based MPs, both list and electorate, with a particular brief to lead the attack on the Super City issue. Without being tied to a local constituency Twyford could range across the entire region, build relationships for Labour with a cross-section of Auckland-based community groups, find common ground between communities with potentially conflicting interests, and generally be all over Auckland for his party.
Not only would it be an exciting role, and an effective way to coordinate a large group of MPs and their activities around the Super City, it'd also be good practice for building coalitions around issues for when Labour is back at the heart of Government again.