Why stand to lose?

During the 2002 election campaign we knew National’s chances of winning were slim but those of us working in Otago didn’t expect to lose the seat as well.

I could be wrong, but I’ve always thought Labour’s candidate, David Parker, didn’t rate his own chances very highly in the seat and possibly didn’t even want to win it. I’ve always wondered if he was standing to lose the seat but gain a toe in the door for a Dunedin seat when one of the city MPs retired.

However, whether or not he intended to win he did and served three years as an electorate MP before Jacqui Dean won the seat back for National in 2005.

Boundaries changed and the electorate’s name changed too. He stood in the new Waitaki electorate in 2008 and this time made it quite clear he wasn’t trying to win. He conceded to Jacqui  at a public meeting in Geraldine a couple of weeks before the election much to the consternation of Labour Party volunteers who were supporting him.

They made it clear to their party HQ that Parker wouldn’t be welcome back as a candidate. When he didn’t put his name forward to succeed Pete Hodgson in Dunedin North it was assumed he’d decided he preferred being a list MP. His decision to stand in Epsom doesn’t change that because he’s very unlikely to win.

Why, then, is he doing it?

Could it be because this seat will get a lot of media attention which will help his leadership aspirations? Could it also be that he’s not only looking for Phil Goff’s job but his seat as well?

Is he standing in Epsom not to win but to make a showing in Auckland and help his chances at selection in Mt Roskill when Goff retires?

P.S. His media release included this:

National and Act are taking the people of Epsom for granted and treating them like sheep to try and construct an outcome that brings MMP into disrepute . . .

That’s a bit rich when one of the aspects people most dislike about MMP is not accommodations made publicly between parties before elections, but that MPs voted out of an electorate come back on the list in exactly the way he did.

5 Responses to Why stand to lose?

  1. Richard says:

    DP is a risk taker, an entrepreneur but a failed one – Goggle is quite helpful. Turns to politics. His most disgraceful action was to turn his back on Labour supporters in North Otago – as you mention. Pure, political ambition drives DP – another example of why MMP needs to abolished – or modified.
    He has it in for farmers because he lost his case on the recreational value of farms. A nice person until he venture into politics. “Power corrupts — MacBeth da da–


  2. Ross says:

    I think you have hit the nail on the head around having an Auckland profile and ‘place’. The fundamentals of 1/3 of our population being their mean you must take Auckland to win an election.

    Similarly, if you want to lead any of the 3 larger parties in NZ (National, Labour and the Greens) then you need to have a strong Auckland power base.

    By setting up there David Parker is playing both the short and long game in his political ambitions.

    The good thing about the South Island is generally people know charlatans and those unworthy of respect or high office when they see them, and react accordingly. It is a lot easier to hide and make a big noise about yourself in Auckland, and you are far less likely to be challenged on your character or fitness for public life.

    So a smooth move for David Parker, but who is going to tell him he isn’t up to it I wonder?


  3. homepaddock says:

    “He has it in for farmers because he lost his case on the recreational value of farms.”

    It doesn’t reflect well on him that he’s letting the loss on a single issue turn into a war against a whole group.

    “who is going to tell him he isn’t up to it I wonder?”

    The voters in Epsom? But the voters in Otago and Waitaki did and he didn’t take any notice.


  4. J.R.M. says:

    Parker was [edited]for us in the south.He also was found a bit lacking in moral worth ,after trading in his partner for a newer model not realy looked on favourably in the south but i guess its ok in the great city of Auckland.[edited] J R M. says.

    [I edited personal comments against someone else on Saturday and am reluctantly doing that here too. There’s a fine line between polticial comment and personal abuse and I think the words I deleted crossed it – Ele]


  5. Inventory2 says:

    Since MMP, we have never had a PM who does not hold an electorate seat, and Don Brash has been the only list-only LotO.

    David Parker will not win Epsom, and will become a three-time electorate loser. It’s hardly the pedigree to catapault him to the leadership of the Labour Party post-election. The only read I can put on this is that Phil Goff is going to leave politics if Labour loses in November, and that Parker will stand in Roskill. That of course assumes that Goff holds Roskill on 26 November, and that is by no means certain.


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