Key Points:

David Benson-Pope's decision to stick around for another shot at Parliament creates an awkward and unwanted situation for Labour.

Clearly the former minister hasn't taken the hint that it is time to go, after his failure to be upfront about interfering in the employment of former Environment Ministry communications manager Madeleine Setchell.

Internally, there was a feeling that Mr Benson-Pope would not seek reselection for Labour because he would realise many of his colleagues felt his situation was of his own making.

He may well enjoy being the electorate MP for Dunedin South, where he won in 2005 with a majority of more than 10,000 votes.

He may well be popular with the Dunedin branch of the Labour Party.

But he is damaged goods after making one too many mistakes and displaying poor political management - and that doesn't fit well with a Labour Party that wants to go into the next election looking fresh.

Realistically, Mr Benson-Pope's chances of returning to the Cabinet are minuscule, if not zero. Prime Minister Helen Clark tried to stand by him as the Setchell story unfolded, but when she found she couldn't do so any longer she cut him loose.

Unfortunately for Mr Benson-Pope it wasn't the first time he had been in hot water and Helen Clark won't have taken the last debacle lightly.

The trouble for Labour, though, is it won't be easy to prise Mr Benson-Pope out of Dunedin South if he doesn't want to go.

Should there be a credible challenger for him in Dunedin South he might have trouble hanging on to be Labour's candidate for the next election. But no such person has emerged, and time is running out - nominations close on November 9.

Under Labour's voting system, the party hierarchy can be out-voted in any attempt to get rid of Mr Benson-Pope by local electorate members.

So if Mr Benson-Pope really does have the full support of his electorate committee and the locals, he could well be returning for another shot next year.

That wouldn't be a disaster for Labour's rejuvenation because it has 10 other MPs who are calling it a day.

But it may yet decide to give the message loud and clear to Benson-Pope in the form of a lower party-list ranking.