Who are the Timaru Labour Government MPs?

At the left of the masthead for The Courier  is an advertisement for Aoraki MP Jo Goodhew with her contact details and the Parliamentary crest and a small National logo which is the sort of thing an electorate MP routinely does.


At the right of the same masthead is an advertisement in which the Labour logo takes up a third of the space and under this is “Timaru Government MPs’ office, your link to Government” with an address, and both a Timaru and 0800 phone number. It also carries the parliamentary crest.


Trouble is there is no person who is the Government MP for Timaru (and the placement of the apostrophe after the s means it’s referring to more than one Timaru Government MP). This means it can’t be a constituency or list MP’s or MPs’ advertisement so it must be an election advertisement – so why does it have the Parliamentary crest (which means you and I have paid for it) and why doesn’t it have authorisation as required by the EFA?


The central vetting committee which Audrey Young  reports has been set up to inspect every proposed publication by every Labour MP and candidate can’t have seen this, unless they think Labour Government MPs don’t count. Of maybe the law of common sense doesn’t apply here.


For the record, I rang both numbers and got an answer phone telling me I’d phoned the Timaru Labour Government MP’s (or maybe MPs’) office. Just wondering if you and I pay for that too.

10 Responses to Who are the Timaru Labour Government MPs?

  1. truthseekernz says:

    hp: I had fun with this. The Labour web site used to allow you to put in the name of your electorate and find out which MP (list or local) covered one’s area. They have now changed it, so you can’t locate an MP by electorate at all. You have to look at the regions and work out which MP is yours…..if you can. If you’re in a National-held local seat, then there is NO way to work out which Labour MP is “shadowing” your area. That is a step backward.

    I called the 04-471-9998 number on the “Contact us” and found myself talking to the PM’s office. They didn’t know who was shadowing Timaru. They put me through to the Labour Party in Fraser House on Willis St in Wellington. They were helpful, but first I had to explain about the whole idea of shadowing and then ask who it might be. They didn’t know. They told me to call the Senior Whip’s office at Parliament. I do so and found out that Tim Barnett, the Senior Whip IS your “local” Labour MP in Timaru. By coincidence, his office would also know which Labour list MPs cover which local electorates. Apparently they are shuffling some of the list MPs around as local candidates, so the areas they used to shadow aren’t the seats they will be running in locally this time around.

    Bottom line: VERY messy and poorly thought out for this late-ish stage in the electoral cycle. It should not be harder now to find out who is representing you than it was 6 months ago.

    Also interesting was being told the Labour Party doesn’t have a web site. The ONLY Labour web site is the Parliamentary one at labour.org.nz. That’s why the phone number goes to the PM’s office.

    I explained th problem to the person in Tim Barnett’s office and suggested they sort out this basic issue of finding out who represents you ASAP. For their own good. I don’t vote for them.


  2. homepaddock says:

    There is no Timaru electorate and hasn’t been since at least 1996 – with the existing boundaries the city of Timaru is in Aoraki and under the new boundaries it’s in Rangitata. I’m in Otago on the old boundaries and will be in Waitaki on the new ones.

    I didn’t want to know who the shadow MP was – I was just pointing out that there is no such thing as a Labour Government MP for Timaru or anywhere else so the ad is for the party and contravenes the EFA.


  3. truthseekernz says:

    Now you’re being pedantic. Under MMP, list MPs do actively represent their party at local level whether elected locally or not. MPs get moneyto set up local offices all over NZ for this very reason. National List MP, Nathan Guy, has an office in Oxford St, Levin (Otaki electorate) and shares one with List MP Chris Finlayson in Paraparaumu. Finlayson ‘represents” national voters in Labour-held Mana.

    So don’t be unhappy that you have several MPs instead of one. Ok, maybe you don’t like any of the others who make themselves availableto you and who would represent you. But you will have neighbours(whether you know it or not) who do.


  4. truthseekernz says:

    Also, trying to use the EFA, as you appear to be attempting to do, to block the sort of democratic benefit I describe above is a bit highhanded…..if that is what you’re saying. On the one hand National would say “list MPs represent no one” (even though they very obviously DO)…and then actively try to PREVENT them from doing the representation work you would have us belive they aren’t doing anyway.

    A bit far-fetched…..


  5. pointer1 says:

    The office is one way of having a Labour presence in Timaru, paid for by the taxpayer. Its a blatant gesture, but not strictly illegal. I understand they were not allowed to call it the Aoraki Labour MPs’ office, because there wasn’t one (Jim Sutton resigned as a list MP after losing the electorate contest). I guess the party has pooled funding from all of its offices, paid by parliamentary services, and having the office also allows it to advertise. The ad itself is dominated by a large Labour logo, and a much smaller crest, so you’d have to say its all about party advertising. Paid for by the taxpayer! There probably won’t be the funding available for this after the election, if current polls are accurate, as there will be fewer Labour MPs, and fewer Labour held electorates.


  6. homepaddock says:

    TS I don’t have any problem with shadow MPs having an office and advertising it in an electorate – that’s one of the advantages of MMP and as pointer 1 says, within the rules.

    What I object to is an advertisement which looks like it’s for an electorate or shadow electorate MP or MPs but is in fact an ad for the party and as such breaches the EFA because it’s not authorised.

    The EFA is a blatant attack on democracy. Labour and the wee parties which supported were warned of this by a whole range of people and gorups across the political spectrum and many with no political bias. It says any words or graphics that could be regarded as persuading someone to act for or against a party needs to be authorised.

    Pointing out this ad comes in to that category isn’t an attempt to prevent an MP or MPs doing their work, it’s merely pointing out another example of Labour disregarding the law they rammed through.


  7. truthseekernz says:

    hp: Ok. Thanks for being patient with me. I think I’m there now. The EFA certainly does appear to have some problems. The idea behind it is sound and consistent with similar laws in Canada and elsewhere. I don’t think anyone wants to see a few people or groups with pots of money drowning out everyone else. I had the Exclusive Brethren materials delivered to my home last election. I researched their claims and they were shameless lies, half-truths and gross distortions from one end to the other. Freedom of speech isn’t the freedom to lie and/or mislead.

    But the finer detail of the EFA does seem to be fraught with problems that do need to be fixed. Thanks.


  8. […] should be enforced Homepaddock has an interesting post on an advert in The Courier, extract […]


  9. […] like its stable mate The Courier  about which I blogged last week  it has an advertisement for Timaru Labour Government MPs under a Labour […]


  10. V. Fellows says:

    Well I was trying to find a branch office in Timaru for the laboiur party but so far have not struck paydirt.


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