No matter how rigorous selection processes are, political parties run a risk with candidates.
No matter how good their credentials are and how well they appear to fit what a party needs when they’re selected, there’s always a danger they won’t stick to the party script.
At best they might not campaign well enough to win votes and they might even lose them.
The danger of rogue candidates is particularly high in seats they’re unlikely to win because it can be harder to find people willing to stand in them unless there’s a good chance they could get list seats.
The risks are bad enough for bigger parties with good back up from MPs, experienced volunteers and the party machine.
They are even greater for wee parties where the talent pool is much shallower and MPs, volunteers and party machine are stretched much more thinly.
It appears that at least some in the Green Party weren’t happy with the way their candidate David Hay performed in 2011.
That could be fair enough – standing for parliament takes a fair bit of self-confidence and candidates’ opinions of themselves can sometimes be considerably higher than that of others.
What doesn’t seem fair, if his version of events is accurate, is the way the party handled the matter:
David Hay today revealed the reason for his leadership challenge, saying that Metiria Turei and Russel Norman had betrayed the core principles of the Green Party and should resign as co-leaders and MPs.
Outside the Green Party offices in Auckland this afternoon, Mr Hay gave journalists a print-out of emails that had passed between himself and Jon Field, the party’s General Secretary, following his interview for the candidate pool. A copy is attached to this release.
The emails reveal that Megan Salole, the Green Party’s 2011 Campaign Manager, had recommended in her secret post-campaign debrief report that Mr Hay should not be accepted into the candidate pool for the 2014 election.
Mr Hay said “I couldn’t believe the party would allow a recommendation like that to be made, without first raising concerns with the candidate directly and trying to resolve them. I made a formal complaint, which was properly investigated. The party has acknowledged that I was denied natural justice, and has apologised.”
“But this also raises serious questions about the party’s leadership. Metiria and Russel must have read that report, and must have known about the recommendation. At no time in the past two years have they, or anybody else, attempted to discuss their concerns with me and try to resolve any perceived problems.”
Two years is a very long time to let something like this fester.
“Metiria and Russel’s actions and omissions in this case have been contrary to the core principles of the Green Party charter principles of appropriate decision making and social justice, and the party’s values.”
“What also concerns me about this is the political risk they took and the folly of their actions. I these two, with others, set a trap for me two years ago and then sprung it during the candidate selection process. I can’t understand how they thought that was going to play out. It was a stupid, stupid thing to do.”
“I have completely lost confidence in Russel and Metiria’s ability to lead the Green Party. I no longer trust them or believe what they say. Neither should party members, or New Zealand voters. That is the real reason behind my leadership challenge” said Mr Hay.
“The Green Party is better than this” said Mr Hay. “We have many good, hard working, people in the party who uphold its principles and values. We don’t need these two any more. It is time for them to go.”
This tweet raises a good question about that:
That question aside, the party prides itself on its democratic processes and transparency.
If this version of events is true that’s an idle boast.
If it’s not, it shows the risk parties run with disaffected former candidates.