There are few surprises in the National Party's list, which largely matches the caucus rankings.

But National MP Alfred Ngaro has dropped 10 places on the list to Number 30, meaning he will almost certainly have to beat Labour's Phil Twyford in Te Atatu to return to Parliament.

National Party leader Judith Collins said she believed Ngaro could win it.

"I think he can beat Phil Twyford," she said.


And another sitting MP, Jo Hayes, could also be out of Parliament on National's current polling dropping to Number 44.

Hayes was critical of the lack of diversity on National's front bench under Todd Muller and has advocated to be allowed to stand in the Maori Te Tai Hauāuru electorate, which has been banned by the party since 2002.

Explaining why Hayes was the lowest ranked MP, Collins said it was a decision made by the list ranking committee working on the basis that the party needed to have a good mix of skills, experience and also those new ones coming in.

"We're also very confident we can get Jo back in as well."

Asked what message that sent Māori she said: "I think we've got some very strong MPs and candidates who are Māori," mentioning Dale Stephens, Harete Hipango, Simon Bridges and Shane Reti.

"I would've thought that was a pretty strong message."

Maureen Pugh - called ""f****** useless" by former National leader Simon Bridges in a leaked recording of a private conversation - did well in the rankings as was placed at Number 19.

Collins was asked whether Pugh's placing was an apology by the party for Bridges' comments.


"Well it's a very unfortunate situation, wasn't it? I'm sure you were as impressed as I was, and the whole list ranking team, at Maureen's extreme graciousness and dignity in dealing with the leak of that very nasty recording by Jami-Lee Ross."

"And since then she's demonstrated to many of us the very deep knowledge she has of the West Coast Tasman electorate, and her connections."

The top new candidate on the list is Nancy Lu, who is at 26.

Lu has been given one of the few list-only slots National allows for, and is ranked above other sitting List MPs Parmjeet Parmar, Agnes Loheni and Alfred Ngaro.

Lu's high ranking follows the decision by Jian Yang - National's only Chinese MP - to retire.

Christopher Luxon is down at 61 along with other new candidates in safe National seats.
That is consistent with National's practice of ranking candidates in those seats low, to reflect the expectation that they work to retain the seat.


Collins said Botany was "one of the safest National seats in the country".

"All our new candidates in very strong seats have been grouped together. It didn't seem to hurt for John Key and it didn't seem to hurt for me, when we came in as candidates."

Candidates expected to rely on the list because they are standing in electorates held by Labour or marginal seats are ranked in the following order:

• Paul Goldsmith (3)
• Chris Bishop (7)
• Michael Woodhouse (12)
• Nicola Willis (13)
• Melissa Lee (16)
• Maureen Pugh (19)
• Harete Hipango (21)
• Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi (24)
• Paulo Garcia (25)
• Parmjeet Parmar (27)
• Agnes Loheni (28)
• Alfred Ngaro (30)

Party president Peter Goodfellow said the ranking was a very involved process but the party had built on the strategy from last time of having a good representative list that was built on experience and around some geographics as well, and mixed in a good bit of diversity.

Former Air New Zealand boss Christopher Luxon is National's Botany candidate. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Former Air New Zealand boss Christopher Luxon is National's Botany candidate. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Asked about how much diversity factored in, given recent criticism of a lack of diversity in the party, Collins said they always looked on it based on merit, talent, and hard work.


"Also it is important to represent New Zealand and we've gone some way to make sure we do. It's very important we don't represent one particular group within New Zealand. We are the National Party for everyone."

"We're very confident of keeping our existing MPs," Collins said, in response to a question about the risk of losing experienced MPs with polling as it stands.

"I think you're thinking too negatively," she said to a reporter.

"We've got some great future MPs coming through and I think we're going to see that we're going to keep our existing ones plus more."

Collins said she was confident National wouldn't lose any electorates, saying "we're going to add some".

"We're very confident of our campaign."

Subscribe to Premium

Asked about the gender balance, she said electorates choose their own candidates and they have chosen more males than females in those strong National seats.

"It is very incumbent on us that we have more list candidates that are female as well".

"I think the number was about 39 per cent women in our list and there's some very strong women there."

A lot of National MPs are retiring this election including Nikki Kaye, Amy Adams, Paula Bennett, David Carter, Nathan Guy, Anne Tolley, Nicky Wagner and Sarah Dowie.

Disgraced Rangitata MP Andrew Falloon has already resigned.

The most recent poll, the 1 News Colmar Brunton, put National at 32 per cent, which would allocate them 41 seats in Parliament.


Labour was on 53 per cent, awarding them 67 seats, the Green Party 5 per cent, which would give them six seats, Act was on 4.8 per cent.

Currently, National has 56 seats, Labour has 46, NZ First has nine, the Greens have eight and ACT has one.