A wee bit too clever?

Politics is hard on families and I respect Holly Walker’s decision to put her family first by deciding to resign.

Her decision to remain as the candidate for Hutt South is somewhat less laudable.

Since Jeanette Fitzsimons lost Coromandel, the Green party hasn’t even pretended to be interested in winning electorates.

I’ve heard their candidates tell meetings to not vote for them, vote for the Labour man or woman, they’re only interested in the party vote.

Like it or not, that’s what MMP allows.

But to have an MP who has stated she will resign from parliament at the end of the term still stand as a candidate in a seat is a new twist of the system.

It’s not unusual to have people stand in seats they can’t win.

Plenty stand in seats for the sake of the party knowing they won’t win nor can they expect to get in on the list. They are taking one for the team in the hope of increasing the party vote.

But this is the first time a list MP who has announced she won’t be in the next parliament still plans to campaign in a seat with the deliberate intent of neither winning it nor returning to parliament.

There are obvious advantages for the party – they have a candidate with profile and the ability to get publicity in a way open to MPs but not so much to a candidate, and who is being paid by the taxpayer.

But what’s in it for the people of Hutt South?

Nothing but another example of MMP’s faults.

The Green Party engineered the early entry of Russel Norman into parliament when he first became co-leader so he could campaign as an MP with the benefits and pay that carried.

That was manipulating the system but at least he was fully intending to be an MP after the next election.

This smells worse than that.

Walker would be paid until the end of the parliamentary term without being a candidate and even if she wasn’t standing in a seat she could still campaign for the party until the election.

So it’s not that there’s any extra cost involved.

It’s more an extra dose of duplicity.

Not trying to win because it’s the party vote that counts is one thing, standing without wanting to win is another.

In the normal course of events a candidate who didn’t expect tow in would be delighted is s/he did but obviously Walker wouldn’t be.

The chances might be slim, and if the good folk of Hutt South catch on to what’s going on, they’ll be even slimmer.

And that’s where she and the party might be being a wee bit too clever.

They might not like the smell of this and decide to give their party votes to a party which stands candidates who genuinely want to be in parliament.

27 Responses to A wee bit too clever?

  1. RBG says:

    “standing without wanting to win”

    Paul Goldsmith, National – Epsom


  2. 🙂


  3. DavidW says:

    And don’t forget that if she pops up elsewhere around the country assisting others to campaign, she is getting her transport and accommodation paid for by Parliamentary Services (ie thee and me assuming that thee is a taxpayer)


  4. DavidW – Paul Goldsmith is in Clutha/Southland soon, assisting the new National party ‘tobacco candidate’ at a public ‘meet Bill English’s replacement’ meeting.
    Do you think he’ll walk to Southland?


  5. Smells, eh Ele!


  6. jabba says:

    I continued my rant on the 1st post about this situation .. the greens eh


  7. jabba says:

    and hold on you lot .. Goldsmith has taken a hammering from the left for what he MAY be doing, Walker, and the hippies, have taken it to a higher level .. hypocrites


  8. Dave Kennedy says:

    Ele you don’t understand how MMP operates. Only half of our MPs are voted in as electorate MPs the rest get into parliament through the party vote. The idea of the Party vote is that people can choose the party whose policies best represent their own ideals and who approve of those ranked on the party list.

    For smaller parties campaigning for the party vote makes sense because the resources needed to run a national campaign as well as an electorate campaign are substantial and when smaller parties try to cover all portfolios and select committees the workload on individual MPs can be immense without having to have a high profile at electorate level. A number of National Cabinet Ministers have placed themselves on the list for similar reasons.

    Green MPs still get lots of people contacting them for support regarding individual issues, just as electorate MPs do. Green MPs are highly regarded for their work ethic and being able to represent minority groups that have been ignored by others, Jan Logie’s advocacy for transgender people is one example.

    The Green Party is probably on the cusp of having the critical mass to start campaigning for both the electorate and party vote, especially when we get to the point of having around 20 MPs in Parliament.

    For Holly to campaign for the party vote in her electorate, despite not able to continue as an MP, is hardly an issue. Holly can represent our policies with some authority and all voters know about her circumstances.

    “But what’s in it for the people of Hutt South?”

    Obviously the more Green MPs we can get into Parliament the more likely our school hub policy, our safe cycling to school policy, our solar policy etc will be acted on and that will directly benefit Hutt South.

    As others have suggested it should be more of a concern to have MPs be given an easy ride into parliament by being placed into a safe seat than an experienced but recently resigned MP campaigning for the party vote.

    Your attempted at creating a scandal where there isn’t one is a little duplicitous.


  9. Dave Kennedy says:

    Should read “your attempt’ above.


  10. homepaddock says:

    RBG – The whole sentence read: “Not trying to win because it’s the party vote that counts is one thing, standing without wanting to win is another.”

    Put that in the context of the final sentence: “They might not like the smell of this and decide to give their party votes to a party which stands candidates who genuinely want to be in parliament.”

    I am quite sure Paul would like to win the seat and he definitely wants to be in parliament – and in government.


  11. “I am quite sure Paul would like to win the seat…”

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Tory humour! Killer!


  12. RBG says:

    “I am quite sure Paul would like to win the seat”

    So that will be why he didn’t attend the TV3 debate for Epsom candidates?

    You are in a hole over this one Homepaddock- quit digging


  13. homepaddock says:

    I realise the concept of wanting to win an electorate seat is a foreign one to Green supporters because that party doesn’t.

    However, almost all MPs in the major parties would prefer to hold an electorate than be a list MP.

    I was careful to say Paul would like to win the seat as distinct from will be trying to. He understands the political strategy and is prepared to do as the party bids, should it do so – because it hasn’t yet.

    It’s always the party vote that counts and all candidates should make that their priority. Some will put as much effort into campaigning for electorates. Others will ask for the party vote alone.

    In National, and probably in Labour, that doesn’t mean most of those going for the party vote only wouldn’t like to win an electorate too.


  14. Dave Kennedy says:

    “I realise the concept of wanting to win an electorate seat is a foreign one to Green supporters because that party doesn’t.”

    Again you misrepresent the Green Party and MMP. Of course the Green party would love to win an electorate seat but representing voters is more than sitting in an electorate office. For smaller parties they can achieve far more by having an influence on legislation and pushing through policy at that level. More people would have benefited from well insulated homes or our waste management bill than what we could achieve at electorate level.

    How many National MPs are list only? Your argument falls apart the more you try to justify it. As you rightly describe MMP is all about using the rules and creating a strategy to enable your party to have the most influence in parliament. That can’t necessarily be achieved by focusing on electorate campaigns.

    There is possibly merit in doing away with electorates entirely and just campaigning on lists and party policy. There will still be advantages of having MPs operating at a local level as this builds their vote and credibility anyway. Many MPs who snuck into Parliament through a safe seat have never been particularly effective at representing their electorate anyway and we may be more likely to get a higher standard of MP. Although I am campaigning in Invercargill I would hope my track record at a local level and my community involvement will serve me in good stead. I already feel I have had some success in advocating for the electorate at a national level and this would continue if I were to be elected as an MP.


  15. homepaddock says:

    National Party rules permit no more than 5 MPs to be list only.

    “There is possibly merit in doing away with electorates entirely and just campaigning on lists and party policy. ” MMP has increased representation for parties at the expense of representation for people, doing away with electorates would make that worse.

    Most people want local MPs not for their party philosophy and policies but for help with problems which aren’t usually political.

    Effective is subjective. Most of us don’t see the bulk of the work electorate MPs do because it’s between them and the constituents who seek their help. Good list MPs provide this service too – but they have a lot more choice about what they do than electorate MPs.


  16. Dave Kennedy says:

    If electorate offices were established around the country and were multi party in their operations (facilitating contact with local people and all their closest MPs) then the work could still be done to represent local constituents. It would actually encourage MPs to engage because the effectiveness of MPs could be directly judged and have an impact on voting in the next election. It would also give voters more choice in who they felt more comfortable in seeing.


  17. Neil says:

    Robert Guyton 9.32 am I can tell you that Paul Goldsmith was in Clutha-Southland two weeks ago. The Green pigeon post probably got grounded on the Titi Islands offshore Stewart Island


  18. TraceyS says:

    Isn’t this just so simple? If she doesn’t want to be in parliament she shouldn’t be running. Otherwise it is just marketing, pure and simple.


  19. “I was careful to say Paul would like to win the seat as distinct from will be trying to.”

    Ha ha ha ha haha ha ha!

    (Neil – no one cared or bothered).


  20. Paul Goldsmith in Southland?
    Why? How? (Did he walk here? Did we, the long-suffering taxpayers pay for him to fly here ???)




  21. A wee bit too clever, Ele??
    Paul Goldsmith?
    You mean him????


  22. jabba says:

    dollars to donuts a gween MP would have been on any plane he was on


  23. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Otherwise it is just marketing, pure and simple.”
    You are quite right, Tracey, it’s also called campaigning and all parties do it 😉


  24. TraceyS says:

    Obviously she has some sort of major personal issue to deal with and the party should let the poor woman go.

    It might be marketing, Dave, but is it GOOD marketing? Do you know the difference?


  25. Dave Kennedy says:

    Yep, based on sound evidence, properly thought through policy that is well costed and not involving the destruction of recently built bridges so that a more expensive and unnecessary ones can be built 😉


  26. TraceyS says:

    Thanks for answering the question and affirming my suspicions Dave.

    I am really, really gutted your party is prepared to use a woman as a bridge.


  27. TraceyS says:

    Now anticipating some ‘wise’ crack about Simon Bridges that will have the three Green commenters here rolling around in stitches! Robert is typing as we speak…


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