Ex-coalminer features on Labour Party list

By Laura Mills

A West Coast coalminer and Labour Party electorate chairman has joined his own MP, Damien O’Connor, on the party list.
Mr O’Connor was ranked No 22 when the list was publicly released yesterday, although he has already said his priority is to fight to retain the West Coast-Tasman electorate seat he has held for more than 20 years.
West Coast-Tasman electorate chairman and former Stockton miner Hugh Tyler, of Hector, appeared on the list yesterday at No 62.
No one beneath Mr O’Connor’s 22nd placing will make it into Parliament after the September 20 election unless the party polls 31.67% or more.
Mr O’Connor has said he was always reluctant to go on the party list, having previously shunned it, and was aiming to win the electorate again while bolstering the Labour Party vote.
He said it was great to have another West Coaster on the list.
“This is his first time, I hope he can continue to work his way up through the ranks.”
Mr Tyler, a Coaster, has a strong background in coalmining. He was a miner, secretary of the Buller District Miners Union, union delegate, and member of the Coal Council.
He told the Greymouth Star today he was not happy with the direction New Zealand was heading, including the health sector.
“People should be getting operations in public hospitals, not having (to have) private insurance.”
He also advocated bringing back the Coal Mines Act, which he said could have prevented the Pike River Mine tragedy.
Mr Tyler said the party was quietly confident Mr O’Connor would keep his seat.
“Considering it was a National Government that stuffed up Solid Energy ... Coasters are pretty loyal.”
Green Party list MP Kevin Hague is No 3 on his party’s list, and the National Party, which is fielding Maureen Pugh for the electorate, has yet to release its list.