Selected on merit?

The Labour Party is selecting candidates for several electorates this weekend.

The Gore Ensign reports the Clutha Southland candidate will be selected by a panel of senior labour Party representatives and some local members.

There is only one candidate for that position and while party secretary Tim Barnett wouldn’t confirm this, it is thought to be a health researcher Elizabeth Craig.

This is a very blue seat and even though incumbent MP Bill English isn’t standing again, odds heavily favour the National Party candidate, whoever s/he will be.

Because of that it’s unlikely there was much competition for the Labour candidacy.

Other seats will be more hotly contested and because of the party’s female quota there will be a question over any women selected – did they get there on merit?

Are they there because they will be the best candidates or because they are women?

That won’t always be the same thing.

Of course candidates – men and women – aren’t always the best people, but that’s not usually a result of a policy determined to select anyone but the best.

And the policy raises another question – does it comply with electoral law which requires candidates to be selected by democratic processes?

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