Some members more equal than others

Labour is selecting its Dunedin North candidate this weekend.

Three people have been nominated to replace retiring MP Pete Hodgson, who has held the seat for four terms, are  New Zealand Nurses Organisation national adviser Glenda Alexander. current electorate committee chair and warden of Selwyn College, David Clark ; and former electorate chair Simon Wilson.

Taking part in the selection process will be three Labour Party council representatives appointed by head office, including a Dunedin-based representative; two Labour Electorate Committee representatives, selected on the day; one panel member elected by members attending; and the “popular vote” from members, which will count as one vote.

That gives six panel members and a vote from the floor.

In some selections, Labour’s head office officials have stacked the panel to ensure their preferred candidate is selected.

However, it is unlikely the head office appointees will go against the wishes of Dunedin North members.

The last time that happened, Labour lost the seat to National candidate Richard Walls, in 1975.

What’s the difference between Labour Party members in Dunedin North and those in Mana where unions out-voted members?

Big News has the story of that selection  which is confirmed by this comment from Alex in the North  at Kiwiblog.

If all Labour members are equal, those in Dunedin North must be more equal than their comrades in Mana.

UPDATE: Kiwiblog has more on this.

2 Responses to Some members more equal than others

  1. gravedodger says:

    One of the strengths of the National party is the ability for an electorate to actually select a candidate that a significant number of those outside the tent may view as unsuitable hence risking a maverick with alternative views becoming the member for a “Blue Ribbon” seat, the Labour party however have a much more controlled system where a candidate that the national organisation deems to best suit their idealogical belief as currently decided by the leaders at that time will be the candidate. That has left the current leadership hamstrung by the majority of the party wing with a strong allegiance to Ms Clark’s ideology and working against the current parliamentary faction led by Mr Goff as they try to reconnect with an electorate that decisively rejected the path the former leader followed and shored up by placing her loyalists in the power positions of the party. It is complicated by the overwhelming Union vote at local party level being employed as a bloc vote. Hence the adoption of Kris Farfoi to follow Winnie Laban in Mana and the rejection of Josi Pagini, a very strong local candidate. The outcome was so predictable that the position of Press secretary to Mr Goff was handed to Fran Mould some weeks ago to replace the departing K F whose selection was not then decided officially.
    It is all as democratic as a “show of hands vote” to approve a strike call when a secret ballot may well end with a decision not to follow the leadership on a political course that will actually disadvantage the local members. Too bad so sad but the interests of the party as decided at head office will prevail.
    Messy as the Connall and Payne contretemps were, the transparency of the process was in the public arena and what a super MP we in Selwyn ended up with in AMY ADAMS at the end of it all. Her gutsy speech in the Parliament towards the end of quake week, when her home was at the epicenter, was testament to that.

  2. This brings back memories. In 1975 I understand that the trade unions turned up in strength to the Dunedin North Labour Party selection, outvoted the local activists and then were conspicuous by their absence during the campaign. IIRC journalist/cartoonist Tom Scott reported an exchange with a senior Labour Party official who said “A blue-assed baboon could win Dunedin North for Labour” to which the follow-up question was “Yes, but can your man?” Richard Walls won the seat for National.

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