Letting down candidates from start

March 26, 2014

Labour is letting down its candidates from the start by getting media releases about their selection wrong.

Take this one announcing the candidates for Botany and Pakuranga for example.

The first four paragraphs talk about the process and only then does it get to the candidate, Tofik Mamedov, but still expends more words on the process than him.

It then talks about his nationality and that he’s been campaigning but it doesn’t give any of the biographical details you’d expect, would-be voters would want to know and which might have a chance of being published.

The omission is emphasised because the release carries on to talk about the selection of the party’s candidate for Pakuranga, Barry Kirker, about whom it does give some details.

That release was bad enough, but it compounded its mistake with an even worse one which listed the  two candidates covered in the first release with those for three other electorates – Papakura, Taranaki-King Country and Whangarei.

The party might have no hope of winning these seats but it should be able to give the candidates the dignity of a separate, and comprehensive, media release.


Jami-Lee Ross MP

March 5, 2011

Jamie-Lee Jami-Lee Ross will become New Zealand’s youngest MP when he is sworn in following his win in the Botany by-election.

AL-SAADY, Hussain PIR 28
BIGGS, Leo ALCP 58
BRIGHT, Penny IND 124
CAITHNESS, Robin JAMP 45
GOH, Robert IND 31
MURPHY, Lyn ACT 671
ROSS, Jami-Lee NAT 8,150
WOOD, Michael LAB 4,154
YOUNG, Paul NCP 1,572
YOUNG, Wayne IND 55

Jamie-Lee Jami-Lee won 55% of the votes but turnout was pitiful – only about half the number of people voted today compared with those who cast votes in the 2008 election.

As I predicted this morning, his strongest opposition came from apathy.


Jami-Lee Ross vs apathy

March 5, 2011

By-elections don’t usually attract large voter turn-outs and the Botany one is even less likely to.

The Labour candidate conceded defeat the day after his selection, the Green candidate was minutes late in registering his nomination and last week’s earthquake has quite properly been of greater moment.

Polls predict the blue seat will stay that way today and it looks like the greatest opposition to National’s Jami-Lee Ross will be from apathy.


Greens out before race starts

February 8, 2011

The Green Party candidate is out of the race for the Botany by-election before it’s started.

The Greens announced in a press release late last night that it had selected former staffer Richard Leckinger to stand.

Chief Electoral Officer Robert Peden confirmed that the Green candidate had not made it.

“A completed nomination form from the Green Party was not received before the legal deadline of noon today and therefore the Electoral Commission could not accept the nomination,” he said.

Mr Leckinger was upset.

“Gutted. In one word gutted. My heart is broken for the Green Party folk in Botany who had pulled all this together. I am gutted, it’s a real disappointment that I got stuck in traffic on Ti Rakau Drive.”

He told NZPA he showed up at the registrar’s office at 10am but the official discovered one of his nominees had, by moving a couple of blocks, moved to the Hunua electorate rather than Botany. Mr Leckinger dashed back to Botany to get another signature but did not make it back on time.

“I was two minutes too late.”

Misfortune or carelessness?  More of the former than the latter but a well organised party and its candidate ought to know the rules and meet all requirements well before a legal deadline.


Attributes of a good MP

January 27, 2011

Trusty, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind.

Those are the virtues a Guide or Scout should possess. They’re a a good start for an MP too but the successful one needs much more than that.

MPs require intelligence, confidence, common sense, diligence, flexibility, humility, versatility, energy, patience, perseverance, stamina versatility, vision and wisdom.

They must be adaptable, compassionate, decisive, dependable, fair, honest, honourable, innovative, open, polite, reasonable, tolerant and tough. They need the ability to find solutions to difficult problems and stressful situations without becoming emotionally involved and the strength to say “no” when they can’t help.

The position requires MPs to work with all sorts of people regardless of their abilities, backgrounds and views without fear or favour.

MPs need to learn how to not take personal attacks personally. A well developed sense of humour, including the ability to laugh at themselves, is essential.

They must be able to admit mistakes and apologise for them.

They need the support of family and friends who will lift them up when they’re knocked back and keep the grounded  if they start getting carried away with their own importance.

They need to be articulate, enthusiastic and persuasive. They require the ability to read quickly, understand complex and sometimes contradictory information and to sort what’s important and right from what’s not.

 MPs need to know what they believe in. They must be sure about what they will tolerate and what they won’t; what they stand for and what they stand against.

They must support the philosophy and principles of the party for which they are standing and not be like  Marilyn Waring who told Chris Laidlaw she stood for the National Party so she could get into parliament, not because she believed in it.

Supporting the philosophy and principles of the party doesn’t mean they’ll agree with every policy. They must be able to accept the need to promote policies they might not agree with and choose very carefully the rare occasions when they will not be able to do that.

Tonight 60 members of the National Party will be choosing one of five nominees who will be the candidate for Botany.

They are:  Maggie Barry, Aaron Bhatnagar, Darron Gedge, Jami-lee Ross and Edward Saafi.

I don’t know any of them well enough to have a view on who will be the best candidate.

The list of attributes isn’t exhaustive and none of the five will have all the ones I’ve mentioned. But I hope s/he has most of them because the man or woman who wins the selection will almost certainly be the next MP for the electorate.


Maggie Barry seeking Botany selection

January 11, 2011

Broadcaster Maggie Barry is seeking selection as National’s candidate in the Botany by-election.

Kiwiblog wrote about the selection this morning before Barry announced she was a candidate.

A pre-selection committee, chaired by the electorate chair with a majority of members from the electorate, will interview all nominees and arrive at a list of up to five who will go forward for selection.

If the electorate meets the membership threshold it will be up to members in the electorate to choose their candidate, if the electorate doesn’t have enough members then it will be a board decision.

I don’t know how many members there are in Botany nor when the cut-off date is for the membership count. But if I was seeking selection I’d be signing up members anyway to show I understood the importance of a strong membership base to the party and democracy.

It’s also very good practice for campaigning.


Feeling foreign in own land

November 4, 2008

Dene Mackenzie, who’s taking the political pulse of the country for the ODT, has reached Botany.

People born overseas (49%) outnumber the locals (47.9%) and the electorate has the country’s second-highest proportion of Asian voters (33.5%).

But the strong competition for Chinese votes in particular has created a backlash among other voters.

Three Chinese-born candidates are seeking election.

They are National’s Pansy Wong, Mr Wang and Simon Kan from the Kiwi Party.

. . . At Jacob’s Cafe, only the staff were Asian as I settled down next to Glad and Allan Jamieson. They are both in their 80s and have lived in the village for most of their married life.

They are committed National voters and will be voting for Mrs Wong and giving National their party vote. But even they are starting to feel a bit peeved about the wave of new immigrants and new housing.

. . . Botany residents are split over whether it is good for candidates to be campaigning in languages other than English.

Some spoken to by Taking the Pulse said it was good that the Chinese candidates could talk to voters in their own language.

Others said they would prefer to have everything conducted in English but could not say that publicly in the electorate in case they were branded racist.

It’s difficult when you start feeling like a foreigner in your own country, but speaking your mother tongue is natural.

A young Chilean woman works in a supermarket I shop at. She always speaks to me in Spanish and I always try to answer her in her language but that is very different from what Dene encountered in Botany.

If I lived in another country I’d learn the language, but I’d also be pleased if others used mine.


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