Labour’s plan to reopen nominations for its Invercargill candidate when sitting MP Eric Roy announced he won’t be contesting the seat again has several flaws.
The grapevine tells me they had someone in mind when they reopened the selection but he wasn’t willing.
In the end they got Mike Gibson to contest the selection against former MP and several-times candidate Lesely Soper but the party’s process has sabotaged which ever of the two becomes the candidate:
. . . Though technically a candidate is not decided until Labour’s selection committee says so, and that hadn’t happened, there’s no getting around the fact that this was a tough, even humiliating, position in which to put Ms Soper.
Should she again emerge as the Labour candidate, attempts to cast her as the victor in a more vigorous, and therefore superior, process will be subverted by the lingering impression that it was more like a fruitless “geeze is this the best we can do” approach once Mr Roy was out of the picture.
Whereas if the late-showing-up contender for the Labour candidacy, Michael Gibson, gains the nomination he faces taunts that he wasn’t up for the harder fight. . .
A new candidate wants the best possible start to his or her campaign but whoever wins the nomination for Labour in Invercargill will be handicapped by the baggage of the selection process.
Meanwhile, the retiring MP thanks his constituents for allowing him to serve them:
. . . I have had many memorable experiences during my time in Parliament, but the most satisfaction has come from acting as an advocate for our wonderful city and the province as a whole.
A lot of what MPs do goes unseen.
Sometimes this is because of confidentiality requirements, such as when I was involved in the negotiations between Tiwai and the Government in 2013.
Sometimes it is because people are coming to see you for deeply personal reasons – such as their immigration application, or problems they have faced with a government agency.
Sometimes, it’s just not newsworthy.
All of it, however, makes a difference to someone’s life, and I have always been committed to doing the best job I can for my constituents, rather than being focused on headlines. . .
The unedifying process Labour is going through to select its candidate fuels the negative view that many have of politics and politicians.
These words from a Eric are a counterpoint to that and a reminder that good MPs do really serve the people who elect them, and those who don’t, and make a positive difference to people’s lives.