Sabotaged before they start

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.


14 Responses to Sabotaged before they start

  1. robertguyton says:

    Why was Eric never supported in his desire to be Speaker?


  2. robertguyton says:

    “Though technically a candidate is not decided until Labour’s selection committee says so, and that hadn’t happened…”

    Thanks for posting that clarification, Ele.


  3. Andrei says:

    Meanwhile National currently in power continues to advance its radical, authoritarian left wing agenda.


  4. homepaddock says:

    Andrei – I don’t understand why you feel so strongly about measures that could reduce smoking. There are two prongs – helping those who want to give up and trying to stop people taking it up in the first place.

    I presume the plain packaging is designed to stop packets looking attractive, I don’t know what research says about it though it will probably just provide an opportunity for someone to sell covers.


  5. jabba says:

    I must say that I have never seen an atractive package of ciggies.
    I’m all for for personal responsibilty so if someone wants to slowly kill themselve then go for it. The medical costs could be huge but we save the pension payments ;-}
    Also plain packaging could extend to all foods and drinks the food ploice don’t like .. where would it end?


  6. Andrei says:

    Ele I could write a book on this but some bullet points

    (1) Philosophically: why is it a matter of legitimate government interest whether adult New Zealanders smoke or not?

    (2) There is a “target” to have New Zealand smoke free by 2025? or something. cf “five year plans” of the communist regimes and their failures due to the incomprehension of the planners to human nature and their indifference to the consequences of their “plans” on real human beings

    Which would you put your money on?

    (a) tobacco use is eliminated in NZ by that target date
    (b) Marijuana is a legal drug by that target date

    (3) Do you think it is smart to enact policies that will inhibit legal companies operating within the law and paying taxes in ways that will encourage transfer their legitimate business into gangsters and those operating outside the law?

    (4) The tools and techniques being used to “eliminate” tobacco usage can and will be extended to other products and industries – kid yourself not on this matter – in the fullness of time it will be red meat and diary products that will be in the crosshairs – you might disapprove of tobacco but the anti capitalists will get to you in your turn.

    Think about this – it is a matter of serous concern and it needs robust debate not to be steamrollered through parliament


  7. J Bloggs says:

    Andrei: In answer to point 1 – It is a matter of legitimate government interest inasmuch as the health effects of smoking have a marked impact on health service resources provided through the public health system. Additionally, smoking affects more than just the user partaking, particularly in family/home environments.

    I have no comment to make on points 2-4. I agree that robust debate needs to take place, and do not beleive that plain packaging will make any difference whatsoever.


  8. Andrei says:

    It is a matter of legitimate government interest inasmuch as the health effects of smoking have a marked impact on health service resources provided through the public health system.

    There’s a huge fallacy there because it is a fact of life that the longer you live the more you will be subject to degenerative diseases regardless of whether you smoke or not.

    Everybody gets exactly one death and before they go most get sick and need treatment on the public health system one way or another.

    The ideal citizen from a fiscal point of view is one who drops dead of a heart attack on their sixty-fifth birthday and therefore doesn’t receive superannuation, hip replacement surgery, cataract surgery and several years nursing in a high needs unit when the get Alzheimer’s disease after 20 years of living in retirement on Government superannuation.

    Smokers who have a slightly reduced life expectancy probably take less from the Government, or perhaps it is even less out of the health budget commensurate with that slightly shorter life span


  9. J Bloggs says:

    Longer life does lead to more degenerative disease, but smoking brings on a lot of those diseases (particularly cardio/pulmonary related) a lot earlier in life. Many of those conditions don’t end up being immediately fatal, but do reduce quality of life, and and result in higher usage of medical and social resources in the form of community based care and support.
    The costs add up when the 45 year old smoker who has COPD because they’ve smoked since they were 15, is on a disability benefit because they can’t work, in a wheelchair with bottled oxygen when out and with an oxygen pump at home, and receiving home support with housework and personal cares. All provided by the taxpayer.


  10. homepaddock says:

    Andrei – 1) A government does have an interest in preventing disease because of the costs. The last year or two of life tends to be the most expensive for health services regardless of when it happens.

    2. I wouldn’t put money on either and am confused by people who oppose tobacco but think smoking pot is okay.

    3. Brothels are legal too but I support restrictions on how and where they can operate.

    4. I agree there is a danger in restrictions on tobacco being used to justify restrictions on other things. But tobacco is the only substance I can think of that does damage when used as it’s supposed to be.

    Would plain packaging help reduce smoking? David Farrar suggests a trial and I think that’s a good idea:

    Do you favour any restrictions on smoking – eg age and location? Would you want your children or grandchildren smoking?


  11. jabba says:

    the food police have already prepped us on their next targets ,.. we all know what they are, it’s just a matter of time .. ban and or tax on chips, burgers, soft drinks and wines/spirits etc. Mind you, the Greens may exempt mulled wine and wacky backy?


  12. Andrei says:

    Ele the economic argument doesn’t stack up – it is bogus.

    Back in 2011 I went to the funeral of a man who died in his mid eighties of lung cancer. A life long smoker who had lived an event filled life. His kids and grand children were standing around his coffin but his wife wasn’t there because she had pre deceased him by more than a decade – she died of ovarian cancer as I recall.

    His was an example of Tariana Turia’s “premature death” from tobacco.

    Now tell me was his wife’s cancer more worthy of treatment than his? Was his death more ignoble than hers?

    Is a paraplegic who got that way through crashing his car less worthy of treatment and support than a rugby player whose injury occurred in a collapsed scrum? And why should we pay for rugby injuries anyway or sky diving ones?

    Anyway drug taking is part of our human makeup whether you like it or not and in the scheme of things tobacco is about as innocuous as you can get – it certainly has much lower social costs than alcohol and that probably goes for the “burden” it places on the public health system – if the truth be known,

    Its all well and good to have public policies that will reduce its consumption (eg age restrictions on sales) but ill conceived heavy handed approaches are doomed to failure and the creation of far more problems than they are worth.

    How much effort has gone into stamping out marijuana use in New Zealand in the past thirty, forty years? And how successful do you think that has been?

    Good government policies understand human nature and harness it to ensure success, bad ones go against it and use brute force to try accomplish their goals and they become tyrannical as a result even as they fail.


  13. Andrei says:

    Would you want your children or grandchildren smoking?

    BTW and FYI

    Number three smokes as does number two’s fiance. Number one, the nurse reacts to tobacco smoke like a vampire to garlic. It made for a lecture when we all together the Christmas before last 🙂 (I wonder when that will happen again :()

    But all of this is ok they a adults A-D-U-L-T-S and can make decisions for themselves and one thing is for certain like all of us one way or another they will end up in the ground, God willing not for another fifty or more years though


  14. TraceyS says:

    The next one will be sugar

    “The World Health Organization wants us to cut consumption radically.”

    “…we don’t actually need it…[y]ou cannot live without protein. It’s going to be difficult to have enough energy if you don’t have some carbohydrate. But without sugar, there is no problem. It’s an entirely dispensable food.”

    While, as a family, we do try and avoid the “empty calories” of sugar I disagree with the last two sentences.

    Try telling a child that sugar is “entirely dispensable” in their Birthday Party foods. How would that Christmas pavlova be without it? And my friend, who has Parkinson’s disease, how would he feel about me telling him that the three sugars he enjoys in his cuppa are “dispensable”.

    I’m not a fan of sugar at all. We mainly use honey as a sweetener. But honey’s biological effects are not all that different to those of sugar. Will we one day see honey on the ‘bad list’ along with sugar and high fructose corn syrup? Hope not.


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