Election 2023: Chris Hipkins on why former ministers Phil Twyford, Michael Wood are low on Labour's list

Labour's unveiled its party list for the upcoming election and with it came a strong message to two former ministers. 

Michael Wood and Phil Twyford tumbled down the rankings to spots that will only put them back in Parliament if they win their, granted very safe, electorate seats.

Leader Chris Hipkins pitched up in front of his big red banner, pitching to Kiwis. 

"This election is fundamentally about who best has New Zealanders' backs in tough times," said Hipkins. 

He's relying on Labour's record to define the election, urging voters to think of them in times of national crises rather than the political crises that have dominated their attention of late.

Hipkins is hoping he can do a 180. 

"We're in this to win it. We're going to be significantly increasing our share of the party vote to what you're seeing based on current polls. Our campaign's only just warming up."

Labour's target for MPs is a secret and instead it's stating the bleeding obvious.

"Our goal is to get as many votes as possible so we get as many people in Parliament as possible," said Hipkns.

He thinks Labour will have "heaps" of MPs after the election.

They've drawn up a list 76 long. 

Cabinet Ministers come first and the rest of Labour's largest-ever caucus are scrapping it out to keep their seats. 

"We're bolstering an experienced caucus with fresh new talent," said Hipkins.

New talent like Georgie Dansey, who unsuccessfully ran for them in the Hamilton West by-election triggered by rebel MP Gaurav Sharma - a hospital pass like no other - has been rewarded with a ranking ahead of 20 sitting MPs.

"Georgie flew the flag for us very proudly and very positively during the by-election."

Below her is former minister Phil Twyford, who has taken the largest tumble. He was ranked four in 2020 and he's now 49.

"His ranking just reflects that he's no longer a minister," said Hipkins.

He said he doesn't want him to go.

There's also Michael Wood. His shares scandal fall from grace has landed him with no ministerial job and a 22-place plummet down the list to 45.

"Michael's not currently a minister so his ranking on the list reflects that," said Hipkins. 

A surprise unresignation from Tāmati Coffey on Sunday saw him selected for Kiri Allan's vacated East Coast nomination after saying he wanted to spend more energy on his young family. 

"The tank is certainly not empty, he is running on all cylinders," said Hipkins. 

So is the Prime Minister. 

"I'm confident that our party vote is going to exceed expectations."

He's fired up to take everyone by surprise.