Curran confirmed for Dunedin South

March 24, 2014

Labour has confirmed sitting MP Clare Curran as its candidate for Dunedin South.

The party took an unusually long time to confirm the selection and there’s some evidence that the party didn’t really want Curran again.

She’s unranked in caucus, the selection date for the electorate was extended and the photo of the Labour women’s caucus celebrating International Women’s Day had every woman MP but her.

One of those could be considered unfortunate, all three together add up to a candidate who doesn’t appear to have the confidence of her colleagues.

If her own party don’t really want her, why should the good folk of Dunedin South?

 


Celebrating all but one

March 8, 2014

It’s International Women’s Day and National is celebrating the depth and diversity of their women’s caucus.

Photo: National women - Strong, dynamic leaders.

Labour is trying to but have scored another SMOG – social media own goal.

They’re celebrating all but one of their women -  Dunedin South MP Clare Curran is missing.
Where's Clare?

Is this deliberate or accidental and does it have anything to do with the fact that Dunedin South still hasn’t confirmed its candidate selection?


Malicidity

March 7, 2014

Quote of the day:

. . . Labour couldn’t run a bath – and if they did, it would leak. But would the leak be deliberate or accidental? Who, after the last week, can say? There was a flurry of discussion over whether the leaks about David Cunliffe’s secret trust, and then the Clare Curran email snafu, were on purpose or by accident. Malice or stupidity? There is perhaps a third, blended category: Malicidity. A combination of malice and stupidity, treachery and boneheadedness. . . Trans Tasman

A majority of caucus saddled with a leader they didn’t prefer; fissions and factions within and between caucus and members . . .

It would be a reasonably safe bet that the leaks would be deliberate.


Can’t run themselves, can’t run the country

March 5, 2014

Labour’s bad week has got worse.

Labour has confirmed that documents on its ICT strategy accidentally sent to the Government came from David Cunliffe’s office, not Clare Curran’s as widely reported yesterday.

Yesterday Curran, the Dunedin South MP, supplied Parliamentary media with copies of an email saying they had been accidentally sent from her office to that of Communications Minister Amy Adams.

The document contained a large number of policy ideas as well as speech notes signalling plans to announce free individual devices for pupils in low decile schools.

However late last night Labour’s chief press secretary Simon Cunliffe confirmed that the email sent in error actually came not from Curran’s office, but from that of the Labour leader.

While Simon Cunliffe would not say who the particular staffer was, Fairfax has been told it came from Rob Egan, a former communications manager for the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. . .

Was this a deliberate and misguided attempt to take the heat of Cunliffe over the untrustworthy trust donations debacle at the expense of the not-universally popular Curran?

Why did Curran say her office was responsible when it wasn’t?

Whatever the answer to those questions is, this is another example of Labour’s inability to run itself which shows it’s far from ready to run the country.


Curran not standing or not wanted?

December 28, 2013

Friday’s ODT had an interesting advertisement:

The New Zealand Labour Party wishes to advise all Electorate, Branch and Affiliated members that nominations for the Dunedin South constituency remain open. The closing date has been amended and is now February 28 2014.

Does this mean that sitting MP Clare Curran isn’t standing or that she’s standing but not wanted and the party’s hoping for other nominations?

Or does it just mean there’s been a muck-up and no-one’s been nominated at all?

Whatever the answer this is most unusual in what was once a dark red seat.

However, at the last election it was more purple – National won the party vote and its candidate Jo Hayes, who will enter parliament on the list when Katrina Shanks retires next month, made a serious dent in Curran’s majority.

Hat tip: Pete George


So much for the south

September 27, 2013

Labour’s abandonment of the provinces is particularly noticeable in the South Island and the dearth of representation has been highlighted by the party’s reshuffle.

The first South Island MP in the line-up is list MP Clayton Cosgrove at number 7.

The next is another list MP Maryan Street at 12 and then West Coast Tasman MP Damien O’Connor at 19.

The party has only two MPs south of Christchurch. One of those, David Clark who is supposed to be well regarded in and outside parliament, has been demoted to 20.

Megan Woods is 24 and the other South Islanders, Ruth Dyson, Clare Curran, and Rino Tirikatene are unranked.

The ODT says that new deputy, and another list MP,  David Parker’s links give Labour south cover.

David Parker pledged his loyalty to the South after his election yesterday as deputy leader of the Labour Party.

The election of Mr Parker – a list MP who has a house in Dunedin, visits the city two weekends out of three and still calls the city his base – provides Labour with South coverage to complement Mr Cunliffe’s coverage of the North as MP for New Lynn.

The prime reason for those visits will be to keep contact with his children. That is his business but shouldn’t be confused with political representation.

He might have pledged his loyalty to the south but his actions don’t match his words. He chose to leave Dunedin and stand for Epsom at the last election.

The one before that, 2008, he was the candidate for Waitaki but showed his lack of commitment to that when he conceded the seat at a public meeting a couple of weeks before the election, for which local party members still haven’t forgiven him.

If it gets into government, the party’s anti-growth policies will hit the regions hard and the lack of representation in the senior ranks of the party will make it more difficult for the concerns of the south to be heard.


Tweet spotlights division

September 10, 2013

Labour’s two Dunedin MPs Clare Curran and David Clark came out in support of Grant Robertson before the leadership meeting in the city on Sunday.

A couple of polls have shown their candidate is well behind and yesterday Curran tweeted:

“The “NZ’s not ready for a gay PM” is prob the biggest dog whistle I’ve ever heard. Extraordinary that it’s also coming from within the Party.”

And that tweet is not prob(ably) but definitely an illustration that Labour’s big problem is lack of unity compounded by MPs’ ability to keep their thoughts on internal problems internal.
A leadership race like this always had the potential to expose divisions in the party and this tweet has shone a spotlight on at least one of them.

Should that be mis-communication spokesperson?

November 9, 2012

Labour’s communication spokesperson Clare Curran issued a media release today headlined Catastrophic Failure’ Hits Southern Cross Cable:

A ‘catastrophic failure’ has struck the Southern Cross international internet cable, says Labour’s Communications and IT spokesperson Clare Curran.

“Labour has learnt that a ‘catastrophic failure’ at Southern Cross’s Alexandria landing station occurred this morning due to an unauthorised and un-notified software change to their wavelength switching platform, which blew up.

“We understand that partial service has been restored by reinstating old circuits via New Zealand. Full restoration is still being worked on.

“This shows the Government’s inaction and disregard for our international infrastructure could have equally catastrophic consequences for New Zealand. . .

Southern Cross responded with a media release headlined No catastrophic failure on Southern Cross Cable:

Contrary to a misleading and inaccurate media release from Labour’s Clare Curran, no ‘catastrophic failure’ has occurred on the Southern Cross Cable.

The cable is, a figure of 8 network providing internet services to New Zealand, Australia, Pacific and the US. In the early hours of this morning a limited outage affecting 10% of our active capacity occurred during our maintenance window which is a low traffic impacting period.

The outage occurred at one of our Sydney cable stations, Alexandria, and it lasted from 3.17am – 4.28am, Sydney Time, impacting 4 of our customers.

A problem occurred and the switch was reverted to its original software. The incident occurred as a part of authorised work taking place to expand capacity on the Southern Cross Network.

If the Mis-Communciation spokesperson has apologised for her mistake it hasn’t yet appeared on Scoop where she put the media release.


SMOG pollutes campaign clear-air

August 23, 2011

National Party MPs’ blogs have been labelled boring.

As an active member even I will admit there is some truth in that accusation but there is a very good reason for that. Exciting posts usually generate publicity of the wrong kind.

There is no better example of that than the SMOG (Social Media Own Goal) over at Red Alert which Keeping Stock details:

We’ve blogged a bit about SMOG’s lately; Social Media Own Goals. Well, Clare Curran has scored an absolute beauty today. Over at Red Alert, and under the heading The importance of being Labour, she blogged:

    Have had a gutsful of the white-anting of Labour from both the right and the left of politics.

White-anting is an Australian expression. It means undermining . .

Now Clare, as she proudly points out is a “public relations professional”. So what was she thinking when she followed he first post up with one entitled The importance of being Labour #2? There she blogged:

 And on another note, re white-anting; the attempts by the Greens to encroach on Labour territory . . .

Comments in response from the left aren’t impressed with this born-to-rule attitude and include:

  • Greens white-anting Labour?

    Surely you mean, contesting the same constituency rather than ‘encroaching’, right?

    You seriously think you have the unquestioning allegiance of my vote as a worker?

    I don’t think you need to look to far to see why mobilising labour in NZ is facing a few hurdles with this kind of thinking.

Discussion also raged on Twitter, prompting Dim Post to post on why the left should vote strategically.

 And Imperator Fish asks if Red Alert is damaging Labour.

The answer to that is yes.

There are only so many column inches in papers or minutes of air time available for politics and the last thing any party needs is to have them covering this sort of spat.

It would be better to be accused of being boring than producing SMOG that pollutes the clear air needed to run a positive campaign.


SMOG alert

August 3, 2011

Keeping Stock calls them SMOGs – social media own goals and Clare Curran has scored a big one.

It’s bad enough that she tried to smear John Key by ranting about a PR company on a Red Alert Post, but to make it worse Quote Unquote points out the conspiracy is even deeper and darker than she suspects.

 Hill & Knowlton is huge – it even has a branch in Morocco – but it is a small cog in the vast global (i.e. evil) machine that is WPP.

WPP controls 20 companies in Auckland – well, you’d expect that of sleazy Auckland – but it also controls six companies in virtuous Wellington, PR agencies, ad agencies, pollsters and the like. I can reveal their names: Designworks, MEC, Milward Brown (Colmar Brunton), Ogilvy & Mather, PPR and Y&R . . .

. . . But it gets even worse. Y&R’s clients include the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Te Papa, the Met Service and the NZSO.

That’s a worry.

If you follow Curran’s logic the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Te Papa and the Met Service are all evil.

Does that explain the bad weather?


Can’t make law if don’t understand and keep it

July 26, 2011

Labour just don’t get it – they aren’t above the law.

The Electoral Finance Act they pushed through was a dog’s breakfast. National repaled it and replaced it with legislation on which Labour was consulted and for which they voted.

While not as bad as the EFA, it’s far from perfect but that’s what happens, when you aim for concensus you oftn end up with compromise.

But good law or bad, it is the law and it is incumbent on those who make it to understand it and keep it.

Labour doesn’t appear to understand the law for which they voted, they don’t want to keep it and are criticising officals for administering it.

Kiwiblog posts on posts written by Damien O’Connor and Clare Curran at Red Alert in which they complain about the Electoral Act and the Electoral Commission.

MPs who neither understand nor keep the law cannot be entrusted with making it.


Clothes maketh the MP

June 8, 2011

Whether or not clothes maketh the MP is debatable but there is no debating that the debating chamber has a dress code. That is business attire and it applies to all MPs.

Whatever grounds Clare Curran had for complaining that her publicity stunt of wearing a Highlanders rugby jersey in parliament yesterday resulted in a yellow card, sexism is not one of them.

Rugby might be a business but rugby gear is not business wear whether a man or woman is wearing it.


Surrounded by zombies

April 23, 2011

Is this a comment on the Labour caucus?

. . . Don’t think I want to replace my profile pic with Zombiegirl. Not the best look. Fun though. Am surrounded by zombies and I’m not in parliament!

Followed by:
 
Am now being mudded and blooded #zombie
 
Y:  heheh… a bit like the labour caucus eh! :>

22 hours ago
 
Actually Y, unfortunately it’s a bit like politics in general.
 
Then:
 
For the benefit of certain colleagues who are snooty about these things and disapprove of me. Fantastic project and can’t wait for it to come out. Proud to have the final scene shot in SouthD

 

Zombies. Part 2: We have an important choice to make this year, we shldn’t be zombies and go with the flow. We are not the undead. We don’t have to be sucked in.
 
It’s from Dunedin South MP Clare Curran’s Facebook page.


Benson-Pope not standing

October 13, 2008

David Benson-Pope is not going to stand for Dunedin South.

However, the MP did not go without a fight.

Mr Benson-Pope (58) lost the Labour Party nomination for the electorate to Dunedin public relations consultant Clare Curran in a bitter battle that continues to split the electorate.

“I acknowledge the widely-held view that the candidate selection was not in the best interest of the electorate and that little regard has been given to the very high level of voter support that I have received in five terms as a [city] councillor and three terms as the parliamentary representative of this electorate,” he said.

“In the end, however, I cannot respond to the disloyalty of a few by allowing any personal sense of betrayal to stand in the way of my political philosophy.”

His decision not to stand came after a long and difficult consideration. He urged voters to cast their party vote for the Labour Party.

His loyalty to the party doesn’t stretch to the candidate Clare Curran though because he only mentioned the party vote.

Dene Mackenzie  said Benson-Pope gave no hints about what he’d do now but options include public office – either a board appointment or election to the Dunedin City Council.

The grapevine has suggested before that he might take a tilt at the mayoralty.


Benson-Pope still prevaricating

September 16, 2008

David Benson-Pope is still prevaricating on whether or not he’s planning to seek the Dunedin South seat as an independent – or for a party other than Labour.

He said he took the Labour signage off his electorate office a couple of weeks ago to comply with the Electoral Finance Act. But that excuse doesn’t hold water because the EFA takes effect from January 1st so he’d hardly breach the Act for eight months then suddenly decide to abide by it.

He could just be playing games but TV3 says he’s asked the council where billboards could be erected. Given the bad blood between him and Clare Curran Labour’s canddiate for the seat he currently holds it is unlikely he’s asking so he can help her.


Benson-pope still mute on future

September 9, 2008

The longer Dunedin South MP stays mute on his future the more speculation grows that he will seek re-election.

Mr Benson-Pope was replaced as the party’s candidate by public relations consultant Clare Curran.

Former Dunedin South and St Kilda MP Michael Cullen was in the city on Sunday to launch Ms Curran’s campaign.

While both spoke highly of Mr Benson-Pope, it must be on their minds whether the MP will not go quietly into the night and instead stand, perhaps as an Independent Labour candidate.

Ms Curran tells anyone who will listen that Mr Benson-Pope is more interested in the mayoralty of Dunedin than remaining in Parliament.

But the local government elections are two years away and Mr Benson-Pope has to fill in his time somehow before then.

If a National-led government takes power after the election, any hope he might have of a lucrative official appointment will disappear.

A clique of Labour MPs seems to think Mr Benson-Pope may stand. He continually avoids answering any questions, direct or otherwise, about his plans but he does make a point of urging people to cast their party vote for Labour.

A pointer to his future might lie in the McBride St window of his office. It says: Dunedin South Office, David Benson-Pope.

The word “electorate” has been blacked out and all Labour Party logos have been removed. Ostensibly, this is to comply with the Electoral Finance Act.

But as I blogged last week, the EFA does not interfere with an MP’s electorate work; and if the signage had been breaching the Act it would have been doing so since January 1.


How desperate are they?

September 2, 2008

How low would you go in your efforts to retain power?

Would you for instance allow one of your MPs to leave your party and stand for another to help its chances of getting back in to parliament and yours of having a coalition partner? And if you were the other party would you accept the waka jumper?

I ask the question because the Dunedin grapevine is buzzing with the suggestion that David Benson-Pope is going to stand for New Zealand First in Dunedin South and that Labour will target the party vote but not try to win the seat.

How reliable is the grapevine? It varies and one fact which makes this scenario less likely is that Labour’s Dunedin South candidate is only 45th on the party list. On current polling that means she’d have to win her seat to get in to parliament.

The Dunedin South selection was acrimonious and there’s no love lost between Benson-Pope and Curran but he’s always been very careful to avow his loyalty to Labour.

Has that changed and would Labour sacrifice Curran?

The answer to that lies in another question: how desperate are Benson-Pope, Labour and New Zealand First?


Benson-Pope coy on future

September 1, 2008

David Benson-Pope’s  name was not on the Labour Party list which was released yesterday but he’s still being coy about his future.

He lost a selection contest for the Dunedin South seat to Claire Curran earlier this year.

The electorate remains divided, with Mr Benson-Pope still commanding large personal loyalty from many in the electorate.

He has been urged to stand in an independent capacity.

Asked yesterday whether he had decided about his future in politics, Mr Benson-Pope said it was not surprising his name was not on the list as he had not sought to be ranked there.

“I have no other comment to make other than to urge people to vote Labour with their party vote.”

There could be some indication of his future on September 9, 10 or 11.  On those days, retiring MPs will give their valedictory speeches in Parliament.

He says vote Labour with the party vote but doesn’t mention the electorate vote. That could just mean he hasn’t got over losing the selection or it could mean he’s still considering standing as an independent.

If he does there’s a chance he could win and if not does it mean he’d be on the parliamentary pay roll a little longer anyway?

I think – and I welcome correction if I’m wrong – that if MPs resign their pay stops on election day; if they stand and are not elected they get their pay for a few more weeks.


Benson-Pope might go independent

May 29, 2008

Just what Labour needs – the ODT reports that Dunedin South MP David Benson-Pope is considering standing as an independent Labour candidate.

Mr Benson-Pope lost the contest to remain the Labour Party candidate on February 2 when he was defeated by Dunedin public relations consultant Clare Curran. Labour Party headquarters staff were on hand to ensure Mr Benson-Pope did not win and some last-minute shifts in support left the MP without the votes to retain the nomination.

This is what happens when the rules enable HQ to out vote the locals.

Mr Benson-Pope has been highly visible in the electorate this year. He has always been regarded as a hard-working and effective MP but seems to be putting an extra effort into his work in recent months.

The Otago Daily Times understands the MP has been telling people in the electorate that, under MMP, they had a choice of voting for Labour with their party vote but that they could vote for any of the candidates.

Inquiries by the newspaper found a high level of discontent in parts of the electorate, particularly centred on the South Dunedin branch, which has the money and the people to mount a campaign in support of Mr Benson-Pope.

A women’s branch has disaffiliated itself from Dunedin South and is considering its options, which include affiliating to the Dunedin North electorate or the party’s Otago regional council.

The South Dunedin branch is now controlled by supporters of the MP, although Labour Electorate Committee chairman Richard Good said yesterday the public comment from the branch was “nothing but 100%” behind Ms Curran.

Public comment might be, but the last thing a new candidate, or the Party, need is the incumbent and his supporters working on a different agenda.

 

When approached for comment, Mr Benson-Pope was reluctant to make any public statements, but did give a brief response: “My loyalty to the party is beyond question and I don’t intend to change that. I understand what loyalty means.”

However, the ODT was told Mr Benson-Pope seemed out for revenge and a few people were “baying for blood” within the South Dunedin branch.

Progressive Party leader Jim Anderton and United Future leader Peter Dunne have both proved that Labour MPs can leave the party but retain enough local support to win their electorates with handsome margins.

Mr Anderton, now loyally behind the Labour-led Government, despite having major personal and political differences with Prime Minister Helen Clark, left to form New Labour. Mr Dunne resigned to position himself for the introduction of MMP in 1996.

Individuals can go independent and win seats, but it’s almost always better for parties if they don’t.

Mr Dunne said under MMP, loyal Labour supporters could give their party vote to Labour but still vote for Mr Benson-Pope and feel their honour was satisfied.

“Effective local MPs under MMP can stand out against a national trend politically.”

Two examples were Labour MP Harry Duynhoven, in New Plymouth, who held the seat with the largest majority in New Zealand while National took the party vote, and National Party MP Nick Smith, who was popular in Nelson but Labour was often ahead in the party vote, Mr Dunne said.

Or Dunne who wins the electorate but the party vote still goes to Labour or National.

Ms Curran said her campaign committee was working well and she had a team of 60 or 70 volunteers preparing to deliver 25,000 leaflets to every household in the electorate.

“There are some members of the party in Dunedin South who found the selection process painful.”

Full marks for restraint when she must be spitting tacks. Benson-Pope won the seat by around 10,000 votes but National candidate, Conway Powell, knocked his majority, and the all important party vote, back by about 5,000 compared with 2002. I’m not going to predict a National win in a deep red seat, but internal ructions always help the other side so even if Benson-Pope doesn’t stand there is enough bad blood being spilt to do some harm to Labour.

Update 1: Monkeys with Typewriters  notes Benson-Pope’s declaration of loyalty to Labour today which reminded me of this declaration  “I’m a loyal Labour Party person,” when questioned about standing as an independent in November last year.

Update 2: David Farrar  points out that if Benson-Pope won the seat as an independent it might help Labour as he’d vote with them and if he takes the seat they’d get another list MP.

 


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