NZ First MP Andrew Williams is set to be dumped to a seemingly unelectable position on the party list, and former MP Ron Mark is set to rejoin the party ahead of the general election.
Stuff understands a draft copy of the NZ First list, determined by the party's selection committee last weekend, has Williams ranked at 13 and Mark at 9.
The draft list is understood to have MP Richard Prosser ranked at No 3.
Prosser became infamous in 2013 for writing in his regular column in Investigate magazine, that all young Muslim men - or those who "look" Muslim - should be barred from flying on Western airlines. The rights of New Zealanders were being "denigrated by a sorry pack of misogynist troglodytes from Wogistan", Prosser wrote. He later apologised for the comments.
NZ First leader Winston Peters was ranked at No 1, and deputy leader Tracey Martin was at No 2 automatically under the party's constitution.
Prosser would not confirm his ranking, saying there would be an official announcement in the next couple of days.
Williams was No 3 on the party list at the 2011 election.
NZ First would need to get more than 10 per cent of the vote on election night for Williams to return to Parliament.
Andrew Williams' political career looks to be toast. That's a shame, because he has been one of NZF's less controversial MP's over the term of the 50th Parliament. He hasn't dissed an entire religious group, he hasn't ranted on Twitter, and he hasn't been investigated over his use of Parliamentary Services money. He hasn't even been sighted late at night, watering the capital's many trees!
Mr Williams is a little put out, as well he may be; read on:
Williams said his ranking on the list came as "a bolt out of the blue".
"I think most people would agree around Parliament I've been a pretty able MP," he said.
"I've performed for the party, I've done a lot of hard work for the party and I've represented the party as well as I could."
The ranking was no reflection of his ability or contribution, but attributable to internal party politics, Williams said.
"I've had the most portfolios of any MP. I've had 11, plus I've been an associate to Winston on foreign affairs, trade, SOEs and finance," he said.
"So I've had a very heavy workload, and the portfolios I've had have been pretty solid ones, like local government, veterans' affairs, conservation, environment, energy; all of which I've been solidly batting on."
Williams said he would like to know what the selection committee's criteria were for selecting the top 10 candidates for the party.
He had sought an explanation for the drop but had not received a response.
In reality, the only person who matters when NZ First's list is selected is Winston Peters. For many years, the party has affectionately been referred to as Winston First, and for good reason. Nothing happens in Winston First without the party leader's seal of approval.
So clearly Andrew Williams has upset Mr Peters in a pretty significant manner. How else can one explain being ranked BELOW Asenati Lole-Taylor on the party list?! Can anyone help elucidate us all?