Finance Minister Grant Robertson not contesting Wellington Central electorate, will run on party list

Finance Minister Grant Robertson will not be running in the Wellington Central electorate in the 2023 election and will be campaigning as a list-only candidate. 

On Friday Robertson said he loved representing the electorate but he believes it is the right decision "for me, for the party and for Wellington Central". 

"I have made the decision not to seek the Labour Party nomination for the Wellington Central electorate for this year's general election. I am putting myself forward to be a list-only candidate, campaigning for the re-election of the Labour Government and to being (with your help!) Finance Minister next term under the leadership of Chris Hipkins," he said in a Facebook post. 

Robertson said he had given the decision "a huge amount of thought" but feels the economy will need his full attention if Labour is re-elected. 

"Being Minister of Finance is a huge job, and does often draw you away from electorate responsibilities," he said. "I am particularly conscious of that now as the country enters a challenging economic period.

"Those challenges are likely to last for some time. Post-election I want to continue as Minister of Finance, and devote myself to that role, without feeling I am not giving my full attention to the people of Wellington Central."

He added he has loved representing the electorate and is confident there will be a huge number of people interested in the Labour nomination. 

"I genuinely believe that Labour is on the right track to win the election and it is so important that we do for the future of Aotearoa New Zealand," Robertson added. 

"We have made such great progress towards creating a fairer, more inclusive and prosperous country. If you agree, then please get involved in the campaign this year. For my part, I will continue to give this work my all over the months and years ahead."

It comes after Robertson ruled himself out of contesting the Labour leadership following Jacinda Ardern's shock resignation last Thursday.

Chris Hipkins was elected as the new Prime Minister at a Labour Caucus meeting on Sunday and was sworn in on Wednesday. 

In his first few days as leader, Hipkins has signalled the economic challenges facing the country - including high inflation and cost of living - will be a core focus of his Government. 

During his first AM interview as Prime Minister, Hipkins said New Zealanders are facing increasing financial pressure as mortgage rates increase and the cost of basics such as food, petrol and power spike - something he says he understands. 

"I understand what the issues are that are driving New Zealanders, and I want to make sure that my Government is absolutely focussed on those core bread and butter issues that are important to New Zealanders."

The new Prime Minister also hinted tax changes could be on the cards if Labour is elected, suggesting some New Zealanders aren't paying their "fair share".