Labour MP Louisa Wall has withdrawn at the eleventh hour from Labour's selection battle for the Manurewa seat.

Instead Wall will be a list-only candidate for the 2020 election, "paving the way for renewal in the Manurewa electorate", the Labour Party said in a statement tonight.

In as statement, Wall thanks her supporters, saying she wanted to bring an end disagreement over the contested nomination process for the South Auckland seat.

"I've been truly humbled by the loyalty and passion of the people in Manurewa and I'm sorry I won't be continuing to represent you as the proud member for Manurewa, a position in which I have served for the last 9 years.


"I don't want the selection process matters to become an unwelcome distraction for the Party and the Government when all of our efforts need to be on rebuilding our country and the economy."

She said she would devote her time to campaigning across the Maori electorate seats and bid for a position on the party list.

Standing aside would give her more time to campaign for equity in women's sport, women and girls' issues and indigenous and LGBTIQ+ rights, she said.

Wall had been facing a tough challenge for the seat, which will be selected tomorrow.

Ian Dunwoodie, who Wall beat for selection in 2011, and lawyer Arena Williams were challenging her.

The selection was delayed while Labour's NZ Council heard two complaints, one about whether some members who had recently signed up actually lived in the electorate and another about whether Williams' nomination was submitted in time.

"Louisa is a hugely gifted MP who has delivered significant change for New Zealand, not least of which is her signature achievement of marriage equality legislation," Labour Party President Claire Szabo said.

"Standing for the list will mean she can focus on key issues important to her and the party, especially Maori development, equality and human rights. Meanwhile, this creates space for a new MP to take up core constituency work for the people of Manurewa.


"On behalf of the Party I want to thank Louisa for her contribution in Manurewa," Szabo said.

Wall was a list MP before winning the seat after Labour veteran George Hawkins retired in 2011.

Sitting Manurewa MP Louisa Wall. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Sitting Manurewa MP Louisa Wall. Photo / Mark Mitchell

She is best known for getting the marriage equality bill passed into law. She also chairs the health select committee and is a former Silver Fern and Black Fern.

She received high-profile support this week from Dame Marilyn Waring who, writing in the Herald, said Wall was a national and international figure with a major profile.

"She is highly regarded by a large number of significant women leaders, by our nation's sporting community, by community activists and by the nation's LGBTIQ community."

Dame Marilyn Waring.
Dame Marilyn Waring.

Waring rejected reported comments that Wall was a "polarising" figure in the Labour caucus.


"I was subject to the same criticisms," said the former National MP.

"Time has a way of showing that critical thinkers on the inside improve a Government's performance, especially when there are weak opposition parties in Parliament."

Labour president Claire Szabo will be running the selection meeting.

Wall won the seat in 2017 with a majority of 8374.

National also has a selection battle tomorrow for the Wairarapa nomination. Sitting MP Alistair Scott is retiring.

The three candidates are Mark Bridges, Mike Butterick and Monique Kloeg. Bridges, a school principal, is the brother of ousted National leader Simon Bridges.


Scott beat Labour's list MP Kieran McAnulty in 2017, by 2972 votes.