Benson-Pope not standing

October 13, 2008

David Benson-Pope is not going to stand for Dunedin South.

However, the MP did not go without a fight.

Mr Benson-Pope (58) lost the Labour Party nomination for the electorate to Dunedin public relations consultant Clare Curran in a bitter battle that continues to split the electorate.

“I acknowledge the widely-held view that the candidate selection was not in the best interest of the electorate and that little regard has been given to the very high level of voter support that I have received in five terms as a [city] councillor and three terms as the parliamentary representative of this electorate,” he said.

“In the end, however, I cannot respond to the disloyalty of a few by allowing any personal sense of betrayal to stand in the way of my political philosophy.”

His decision not to stand came after a long and difficult consideration. He urged voters to cast their party vote for the Labour Party.

His loyalty to the party doesn’t stretch to the candidate Clare Curran though because he only mentioned the party vote.

Dene Mackenzie  said Benson-Pope gave no hints about what he’d do now but options include public office – either a board appointment or election to the Dunedin City Council.

The grapevine has suggested before that he might take a tilt at the mayoralty.

Communicating or campaigning?

October 9, 2008

David Benson-Pope is distributing the 50 page booklet for over 60s which has slipped through an EFA loophole.

Asked yesterday why he had sent out the booklets, Mr Benson-Pope said he was still the MP for Dunedin South.

“As far as I am concerned, I am continuing to provide a service to the electors of Dunedin South. You know I am always keen to provide a good service as an MP.

And is he also using a taxpayer-funded opportunity to get his name and face in front of voters to help if he stands as an independent in Dunedin South?

We’ll get the answer to that question by Tuesday when nominations close.

Public Service undervalued

September 30, 2008

The ODT editorialises on loyal service:

Public service is all too frequently derided and devalued in this age of easy individualism.

At least this is the impression one might arrive at given the pall cast over it by this country’s congenital allergy to politicians – an allergy itched raw by certain branches of the media.

The retirement from Parliament of two of Dunedin’s long-serving parliamentarians offers an opportunity to reconsider this mean-spirited and ill-considered tendency.

In their own ways, Dunedin National Party list MP Katherine Rich and Dunedin South Labour MP David Benson-Pope deserve recognition for their years of service.

One of the reasons MPs are so poorly regarded is that most of the work they do doesn’t make the headlines, and can’t, because it’s helping individuals with private problems.

You can read the rest of the editorial here.

Pledge spectacular failure

September 26, 2008

The ODT looks at the accusations against John Key and concludes:

Whether people accept his word remains to be seen but Dr Cullen is making his best efforts to show an intent to mislead and his accusation and Mr Key’s admission will generally work in favour of the Labour Party’s present election stance of asking voters whom they should trust.

But that can work against Labour and others, and in the context of the Winston Peters affair few MPs emerge with any credit whatsoever.

The attitude of the Prime Minister, who sacked ministers Lianne Dalziel and David Benson-Pope for lying to or misleading the public, is not untypical, for she has adopted a different quantifying scale with Mr Peters. . .

. . . Miss Clark’s response to this, when questioned by journalists, was that she did not intend to waste any more time on the matter.

That may be the safest political course in an election campaign, but Miss Clark also criticised the privileges committee hearing and described it as “tainted” before it had made its final report, a shameful attempt to influence one of our legal institutions.

She was not alone. Mr Peters himself, Dr Cullen and several other members of the committee, which represents a cross-section of parties in the House, felt moved to comment on the procedures, the evidence, and the accused, and their own conclusions during the hearings which, had the matter been heard in the High Court, would surely have invited a citation for contempt.

Indeed, contempt is a word many voters might well be employing to describe the poisonous state of affairs where the MPs’ behaviour and standards have sunk so low as to bring the very concept of the “people’s representatives” into serious disrepair.

“Our mission,” declared Helen Clark when opening her successful 1999 election campaign, “is to clean up government, and to clean up Parliament . . . the public’s faith in the democratic process must be restored.”

That is a pledge which voters should now measure, nine years later, and judge it to have been a spectacular failure.

Labour asks us to judge them on their record. But many of the promises they’ve kept were election bribes which shouldn’t have been made in the first place. and the most important one on restoring public faith in democracy has not just been ignored, it’s been torn up and ground into the mud.

Benson Pope’s valedictory may not be last speech

September 24, 2008

The ODT reports (not on line) that David Benson Pope is still neither confirming nor denying rumours he’ll seek the Dunedin South seat as an indpendent or for another party. But:

It is understoood his valedictory speech in the House tomorrow will emphasise the farewell speech is his last as a Labour MP.

That of course begs the question, will there be other speeches as an MP but not a Labour one?

Delaying an announcement continues to give him publicity so he has everything to gain by delaying an announcement and he’s dropped and he’s dropped hints that he will seek the seat again.

In May he said he was open to offers from other parties although in June he turned down one from the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party .

Who will give valedictory speeches?

September 22, 2008

The NBR predicts there will be tears and fireworks in parliament this week.

It also mentions the valedictory speeches.

Whether or not David Benson-Pope delivers one will confirm if he’s retiring or planning to stand for the Dunedin South seat as an independent, or for a party other than Labour.

Benson-Pope would win?

September 17, 2008

Speculation that David Benson-Pope will stand as an independent in Dunedin South continues:

The Otago Daily Times understands private polling being undertaken in the electorate shows Mr Benson-Pope would win in a canter should he decide to stand.

His name recognition is high and people feel he was a good electorate MP who was treated badly by the party and trade unions.

If he did win the seat it would create, or add to, an overhang. That would help the centre left because if Helen Clark can stomach Winston Peters she could no doubt put aside past concerns with Benson-Pope to help her retain the reins of power. 


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