Labour Party president Andrew Little has sent a strong signal to the five people next in line for the list seat vacated by Darren Hughes to opt out and let Manurewa candidate Louisa Wall take it.

Mr Hughes' resignation yesterday opens up his seat for the next person on the Labour Party list. That is Judith Tizard, followed by Mark Burton, Mahara Okeroa, Martin Gallagher and Dave Hereora. All are former MPs who did not get back into Parliament in 2008. The lacklustre line-up has long been a source of mockery from Labour's opponents.

Judith Tizard, a former minister, said last night that it had not occurred to her that the situation would arise.

"I've had 18 years in Parliament. I know the attractions of it and I know the problems of it, so I will take time to make a decision."

She said that since leaving Parliament she had been "getting a life", including doing volunteer work and recovering from hepatitis.

Mr Little indicated Ms Tizard and the four below her should not waste too much time in making the decision. He said none was standing again this year, and it was logical for Ms Wall to take the slot.