Labour leader Andrew Little will stand as a list candidate in the general election - ending speculation he could stand in Wellington's Rongotai seat.

Wellington councillor Paul Eagle is now the front-runner to stand in Rongotai, which is being vacated after 24 years by Labour's deputy leader Annette King, who will move onto the list.

Little, a list MP, has lived in the Rongotai electorate for years and told his colleagues at Labour's caucus meeting at Martinborough's Brackenridge resort he had decided to be a list-only candidate.

"In the two or so years I have been leader I have observed myself and told my colleagues, the benefit of being a list MP in the role of leader is that I can be anywhere in the country at any time without being tied to the obligations to an electorate," Little said.


"I have to lead a party that starts from 2014 at a 25 per cent vote, polling at the moment at late 20s, 30 per cent sort of mark. So we have a lot of work to do, and I don't underestimate that.

"I want to be free to get around as much of the country as frequently as I can over the next nine months to sell our message."

There had been speculation King would step aside to give Little an electorate after his two failed tilts at New Plymouth. He made it back into Parliament by a narrow margin after 2014.

Labour nominations for Rongotai selection close early next month. Eagle was appointed deputy mayor when Justin Lester won the mayoralty in October.

Bill English is the first list MP to become Prime Minister but no elected PM has been a list MP so far. English had represented the Southland electorate for 24 years before deciding to stand on the list only in 2014.