One of the good points of MMP is that it ought to make it easier to find candidates to stand in electorates they have little if any hope of winning.
When it’s the party vote that counts, maximising that is more important than winning a seat and the candidate who does well campaigning in tiger territory has a better chance of entering parliament on the party list.
That’s the theory but it doesn’t seem to be helping Labour in practice:
The Labour Party is still without a candidate for the Rangitata electorate for this year’s general election.
A party spokesman said it had extended the deadline for another month after it did not receive any applications before the February 28 cut-off date.
Julian Blanchard stood unsuccessfully against incumbent Jo Goodhew of the National Party in 2008 and 2011, but has said he has no intention of standing this year.
Mrs Goodhew won by 8112 votes in 2008 and 6537 votes in 2011. . . .
Labour shouldn’t take any comfort for the drop in her majority.
Local support for Allan Hubbard in the face of SFO investigations, which was beyond the MP’s control, accounts for that.
So much for David Cunliffe’s claim that Rangitata was winnable for Labour.
That the party opened nominations without a likely candidate doesn’t say much for its organisational ability and problems with that are showing in Invercargill where they still don’t have a candidate either.
Lesley Soper was the only one nominated but the party re-opened nominations when sitting National’s MP Eric Roy announced his retirement.
Michael Gibson is now contesting the Labour nomination against Soper but the party has yet to announce which of the two it will be.
Whoever, it is, won’t find it easy to challenge National’s candidate, Sarah Dowie. While Labour’s still sorting out who will run, she has begun her campaign.
She was selected on Friday evening and hit the ground running or more literally walking – spending a good part of the weekend competing in the Relay for Life.
Given Labour’s dislike of Soper and its policy to have an equal number of men and women MPs, neither she nor Gibson can expect the reward of a list place for the work they do in the electorate.