The Sunday Star-Times reports that Labour is planning to purge its dead-wood by the end of the year, with up to three MPs being pushed towards retirement. Good. One of the problems with MMP is that there seems to be less turnover in MPs, with the result that the government's lineup is looking a little long in the tooth (of the 50 Labour MPs, only 11 have entered Parliament since the 1999 election). One of the opportunities of MMP is that list MPs can retire mid-term and be replaced by the next person on the list - allowing a party to renew itself without needing an electoral bloodbath. If Labour is to successfully fight for a fourth term in office, it needs to avail itself of this opportunity, and bring in some new blood.
The difficult bit, of course, is persuading the incumbents to leave. And this is where things get difficult, because it means political appointments to dipomatic postings and Crown Entity boards. This smacks of an American-style "spoils system" (where parties use power to capture the "spoils of office"), and its not something I like to see in New Zealand.