Labour now has two people seeking to be the party’s candidate in Invercargill:
. . . Michael Gibson will challenge Lesley Soper for the position, in what the party have dubbed ”democratic process”.
The two will need to pull together party member votes before a selection panel makes the final decision.
New Zealand Labour Party regional representative Glenda Alexander said contest was healthy for democracy.
”We know people were looking for a change in the area, this is a chance for someone to front up and put their money where their mouth is,” Ms Alexander said.
The uncharacteristic decision to reopen nominations could be perceived as a breach of the democratic process, she said.
”We really wanted to make sure things were more transparent this time …we were criticised for rushing the nominations before Christmas.”
Michael Gibson’s nomination was received on Thursday evening by Labour Party general secretary Tim Barnett in the ”nick of time”, a spokesperson said.
Mr Gibson said he had not considered nominating before the first round closed late last year, but after the only candidate was informally announced in early January, he thought he could offer something different. . .
Democracy and democratic principles are mentioned four times in 15 paragraphs of the story suggesting the party is on the defensive of a process which looks anything but democratic and is paying scant regard for democratic principles.
Labour bought itself an argument it didn’t need to have with its policy of a quota for female candidates.
It had one in Invercargill who had done the hard work of standing before but in an act which shows no regard for her re-opened nominations.
The message in that is they thought she was good enough to stand when she didn’t have a hope of winning against incumbent MP Eric Roy, but she’s not good enough to contest the seat against a new candidate now he’s announced he’s retiring.
Helen Reddy might well sing, that ain’t no way to treat a lady.
It’s also not a good way to run a selection.
If Soper is selected she’ll handicapped with the reputation of the one the party didn’t think was good enough.
If Gibson wins, he’ll start from behind as not man enough to stand against Roy nor troubled by the ethics of trampling over someone who will be justified in feeling aggrieved at the way she’s been treated by a party not nearly as loyal to her as she is to it.
There is no doubt a popular local candidate like Roy attracts votes from people who wouldn’t vote for his party but National will be selecting a candidate by the truly democratic method of voting by members in the electorate.
He or she will start the campaign without the handicaps of internal party machinations.
S/he will have been selected without interference from the party hierarchy and with both the backing of the locals and the determination to do the hard work necessary to earn the votes to hold the seat for National.