The Labour Party reopened nominations for the Invercargill electorate in January, citing the retirement of National MP Eric Roy.
A selection meeting held yesterday saw her go up against Michael Gibson.
About 200 members of the Labour Party and unions affiliated to it attended the meeting and a floor and panel vote both opted for Ms Soper. . .
Mr Gibson, who had previously said he wanted to rejuvenate Labour in Invercargill and overhaul the party, could not be reached for comment last night.
Labour was happy for Soper to do the donkey work in a contest they knew she couldn’t win against Eric Roy.
When he stood down they thought the electorate might be more winnable so re-opened the selection.
They struggled to get anyone to put a hand up and, locals tell me, got someone at the 11th hour.
Several weeks later they’ve finally held a selection and chosen the woman they showed they weren’t confident was the best one to run against a new National candidate.
This begs several questions:
* If she wasn’t the preferred candidate in January, why is she in March?
* Was she chosen because she was the best of the two nominated, or because she’s a woman and the other wasn’t?
* If the Labour wasn’t really confident about Soper representing the party, how can the people of Invercargill be enthusiastic about her representing their electorate?
* Why didn’t the party prepare the unsuccessful candidate for a comment?
* If a party can’t run a selection smoothly how can it run the country?
Labour has handicapped its candidate from the start.
Meanwhile Sarah Dowie, National’s candidate, selected by the members in the electorate with no influence from head office, unions or anyone else, has the support of her party and is working hard to win the support of the electorate.