Sabotaging own candidates

24/05/2014

There’s something amiss with Labour’s selection process.

Nominations for the Rangitata seat were opened, closed without anyone applying and re-opened.

Nominations for Invercargill were opened, closed with the previous candidate, and former MP, Lesley Soper applying but reopened when the news the electorate MP, National’s Eric Roy, was retiring. Someone else applied but Soper was selected anyway.

Nominations for Tamaki Makaurau opened some time ago, were held open pending the outcome of TVNZ’s inquiry into Shane Taurima’s use of his work place and resources for political purposes.

Since then the party declined to give Taurima the waiver he needed to get the nomination and now the party is seeking further nominations:

The NZ Council of the Labour Party has resolved to invite further nominations for the Labour candidature in the Tamaki Makaurau seat, with the support of the Tamaki Makaurau Labour Electorate Committee. . .

Further nominations suggests they have already got at least one but, as in Invercargill, aren’t widely enthusiastic about whoever it is.

The seat is held by Pita Sharples who isn’t standing again which, means Labour would have had a better chance of winning it.

However, the Maori Party has already selected its candidate, Rangi McLean, who will have had the best part of a month campaigning before Labour’s candidate is selected.

Once more Labour is giving every appearance of sabotaging its candidate by its inept handling of its selection process.

 


If party didn’t want her, why would electorate?

10/03/2014

Lesley Soper, the woman Labour didn’t really want to run for Invercargill, has been selected as its candidate.

The Labour Party reopened nominations for the Invercargill electorate in January, citing the retirement of National MP Eric Roy.

A selection meeting held yesterday saw her go up against Michael Gibson.

About 200 members of the Labour Party and unions affiliated to it attended the meeting and a floor and panel vote both opted for Ms Soper. . .

Mr Gibson, who had previously said he wanted to rejuvenate Labour in Invercargill and overhaul the party, could not be reached for comment last night.

Labour was happy for Soper to do the donkey work in a contest they knew she couldn’t win against Eric Roy.

When he stood down they thought the electorate might be more winnable so re-opened the selection.

They struggled to get anyone to put a hand up and, locals tell me, got someone at the 11th hour.

Several weeks later they’ve finally held a selection and chosen the woman they showed they weren’t confident was the best one to run against a new National candidate.

This begs several questions:

* If she wasn’t the preferred candidate in January, why is she in March?

* Was she chosen because she was the best of the two nominated, or because she’s a woman and the other wasn’t?

* If the Labour wasn’t really confident about Soper representing the party, how can the people of Invercargill be enthusiastic about her representing their electorate?

* Why didn’t the party prepare the unsuccessful candidate for a comment?

* If a party can’t run a selection smoothly how can it run the country?

Labour has handicapped its candidate from the start.

Meanwhile Sarah Dowie, National’s candidate, selected by the members in the electorate with no influence from head office, unions or anyone else, has the support of her party and is working hard to win the support of the electorate.


Searching for candidates

05/03/2014

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.


Sabotaged before they start

11/02/2014

Labour’s plan to reopen nominations for its Invercargill candidate when sitting MP Eric Roy announced he won’t be contesting the seat again has several flaws.

The grapevine tells me they had someone in mind when they reopened the selection but he wasn’t willing.

In the end they got Mike Gibson to contest the selection against former MP and several-times candidate Lesely Soper but the party’s process has sabotaged which ever of the two becomes the candidate:

. . . Though technically a candidate is not decided until Labour’s selection committee says so, and that hadn’t happened, there’s no getting around the fact that this was a tough, even humiliating, position in which to put Ms Soper.

Should she again emerge as the Labour candidate, attempts to cast her as the victor in a more vigorous, and therefore superior, process will be subverted by the lingering impression that it was more like a fruitless “geeze is this the best we can do” approach once Mr Roy was out of the picture.

Whereas if the late-showing-up contender for the Labour candidacy, Michael Gibson, gains the nomination he faces taunts that he wasn’t up for the harder fight. . .

A new candidate wants the best possible start to his or her campaign but whoever wins the nomination for Labour in Invercargill will be handicapped by the baggage of the selection process.

Meanwhile, the retiring MP thanks his constituents for allowing him to serve them:

. . . I have had many memorable experiences during my time in Parliament, but the most satisfaction has come from acting as an advocate for our wonderful city and the province as a whole.

A lot of what MPs do goes unseen.

Sometimes this is because of confidentiality requirements, such as when I was involved in the negotiations between Tiwai and the Government in 2013.

Sometimes it is because people are coming to see you for deeply personal reasons – such as their immigration application, or problems they have faced with a government agency.

Sometimes, it’s just not newsworthy.

All of it, however, makes a difference to someone’s life, and I have always been committed to doing the best job I can for my constituents, rather than being focused on headlines. . .

The unedifying process Labour is going through to select its candidate fuels the negative view that many have of politics and politicians.

These words from a Eric are a counterpoint to that and a reminder that good MPs do really serve the people who elect them, and those who don’t, and make a positive difference to people’s lives.

 


Aint no way to treat a lady

03/02/2014

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.

 


Labour divided in Invercargill?

27/01/2014

When Invercargill MP Eric Roy announced he was retiring from politics at this year’s election, Lesley Soper who has contested the electorate for Labour in the past confirmed she will be the Labour candidate for Invercargill.

That was just a couple of weeks ago but the grapevine tells me that Labour has re-opened selection for the electorate.

Is that right and if so does it mean there’s division in Labour’s ranks in Invercargill, or between the locals and head office/unions which have a big influence in the party’s candidate selections?

National hasn’t opened selection yet but its candidate will start with a very strong foundation thanks to the hard work done by the sitting MP who even his opponents admit is one of the most likeable men in parliament.

UPDATE:

This advertisement on Keeping Stock confirms what came through the grapevine:

invercargill


Loyal or hopeful?

30/08/2013

Labour’s giving up on Invercargill but there’s still the odd loyalist down there who’s not giving up on the party:

soper

This is former MP and candidate, Lesley Soper,  who’s saying since there’s no leadership meeting scheduled for Invercargill she’s hoping to have a video of the candidates’ speeches from one of the meetings elsewhere at a local meeting.

Is she being loyal to the party which has shown no loyalty to her, or is she hopeful a change of leader will bring a change for the better in her list ranking?


Buddy for party not electorate

01/08/2012
In the last few weeks the news that Trevor Mallard is to be Labour’s buddy MP for Invercargill has had the odd mention.

That it’s more than eight months since the election and the party is only just getting round to appointing buddy MPs reflects poorly on both its organisational skills and its concern to provide a service to the electorate.

That they add insult to injury by choosing Mallard, the man who is still reviled for multiple school closures in the south when he was Minister of Education is even worse.
There might have been good reason for many, perhaps most of the closures and amalgamations, but they were done in a way that showed little concern for the people and communities affected.
Why then choose Mallard, especially when there are several South Island-based MPs who could service Invercargill more easily?
Credo Quia Absurdum Est has the answer in an email from a mate:
. . . Mallard has been sent down under the guise of buddy MP to make sure Lesey (sic) Soper doesn’t stand again.  The feeling is there must be someone down there to take her place, or HQ will parachute someone in.  Mallard couldn’t care less about Invercargill – the powers that be want her gone from standing at the next election and he’s just the bastard to do it. . .
A party that had any respect for the electorate and democratic principles would find a candidate who could win on his or her own merits.
It would also be more concerned about serving the people rather than its own ends with a buddy for the electorate rather than the party.

Labour enveloped in more SMOG

16/10/2011

It’s not easy being a candidate in a party which values your service as an MP so poorly it put you in an unwinnable place on the list three years ago.

It’s even harder when you’ve got nothing to be positive about your own campaign and party which leaves you trying to drag down your opponent.

You have to get what publicity you can, even if it’s negative, and the cheapest way to do that is with a blog.

But if you don’t want to score a SMOG (Social Media Own Goal) you have to be prepared to accept a range of comments, especially those which correct any errors you might have made.

Labour’s Invercargill candidate, Lesley Soper, doesn’t do that. She moderates the comments so only those supportive of hers stay on show.

But one of the commenters was canny enough to take a screen shot of some comments which didn’t pass moderation and sent it to Credo Quia Absurdum Est who has published them for the world to see.

Though all this is very small beer compared with the leak of the party’s IT policy a day ahead of its release.


Expecting standards from teachers is bullying?

12/10/2011

The Ministry of Education has been accused of bullying for expecting schools to meet their legal requirements to adopt National Standards.

Now Invercargill MP Eric Roy has been accused of bullying for expecting teachers to meet a very reasonable standard of behaviour.

Fernworth School teacher Terry Guyton asked candidates what they would do to “repair the damage caused by national standards”.

Mr Guyton said the standards were forcing teachers to label five-year-olds as failures.

Mr Roy took exception to Mr Guyton’s comment.

“If you are a teacher telling five-year-olds they are a failure you should not be teaching,” he said. “You should not even be testing them.”

What’s wrong with that?

Any teacher who tells a five year old he/she is failing is failing him/herself. But that’s not how Labour sees it:

Labour candidate Lesley Soper took the platform after Mr Roy and promptly accused him of bullying.

“You have just seen an example of the bullying … the Ministry of Education has used on teachers in this country.”

When did expecting anyone to do what’s legally required become bullying?

There could be many reasons for a child not reaching a standard but you have to know where they are before you can work out why and then help them.

The standards aren’t about passing or failure, they’re a tool to identify progress, or lack of it, which then enables the school and family to help children – and it’s working.

Just yesterday a father gave a story which shows this. His son’s first report was all about what a lovely child he was. The second, after the introduction of National Standards showed he had a reading problem. The school and parents gave him extra help and the third report showed he had caught up.

That is exactly how the standards should work, and will if teachers put the children’s education ahead of their own politics.

UPDATE: Mr Guyton’s father has a different view.


Only National wants the provinces

11/04/2011

The 2005 election resulted in a blue-wash through the provinces.

The only general seat outside the main centres which stayed red was Palmerston North.

If the attention being paid to provincial and rural seats in the south by political parties is anything to go by it seems the only one interested in them is National.

That’s par for the course for the wee parties which only turn up for photo ops between elections and have token candidates, if any, standing in electorates but only interested in the party vote.

But you’d expect Labour to at least look as if it was interested, if only to give some heart to its supporters but they don’t appear to be even trying.

The party’s 2005 candidate for Waitaki conceded defeat to National’s Jacqui Dean a couple of weeks before the election much to the disgust of the local party people. It doesn’t seem to have done him any harm with the hierarchy though, he’s number 4 on the 2011 list.

This year’s candidate for Waitaki is number 64, the candidate for neighbouring Rangitata is 56 and the Clutha Southland candidate is 54.

The Invercargill candidate, former MP Lesley Soper isn’t on the list. That’s not surprising when the party couldn’t even find an MP willing to support her at the electorate AGM.

List MP Damien O’Connor who lost he West Coast Tasman seat in 2005 isn’t on the list either because:

“I wouldn’t trust them. Between a gaggle of gays and some self-serving unionists, I’m not sure that a straight shooter such as myself would be given a fair deal.”

Labour leader Phil Goff said he had “scolded” Mr O’Connor about the comments, which the MP had told him about, “although … it will probably help him no end on the Coast. He’s a pretty straight talker and he used West Coast language.”

West Coast language?  Why doesn’t he just call them feral as his predecessor did? The coasters I know don’t talk like that but perhaps I know a more tolerant and pleasant sample of the people than he does.

O’Connor also said:

. . . he was disappointed the system did not deliver better results for rural and provincial candidates, such as himself, who were outside the party’s power blocs.

It’s not just Labour’s system which short-changes the provinces, it’s MMP.

Electorates are far too big and rural or provincial don’t feature among the categories which are supposed to make parliament more representative.


Only 3 parties at meet the candidates

08/10/2008

Invercargill & National MP Eric Roy, Labour list MP Lesley Soper and Green candidate Craig Carson took part in a public election meeting  organised by the Southland Branch of the National Council of Women last night.

Where were the representatives of the other parties?

The Invercargill no-show comes on top of news that only six of the eight  parliamentary parties are going to be represented in a multi-party debate in Queenstown.

The wee parties’ MPs can’t be everywhere but if they can’t find candidates or other representatives who won’t disgrace themselves or their parties to turn up at election meetings then why should we take them seriously?


8 new names on Labour list, but where?

31/08/2008

TV3, The Herald and Stuff all carry news that the Labour list had eight new faces who were promoted over some sitting MPs.

However, none have the whole list nor do they say where the newcomers are placed on it. The Labour website is paid for by parliamentary services so won’t mention candidates either.

On the running average of polls Labour is likely to have no more MPs after the election and may have fewer so Helen Clark will have the task of keeping disaffected MPs in line to add to her troubles.

The new people on the list are:

Rajen Prasad, former Race Relations Conciliator and Chief Families Commissioner;  Jacinda Ardern, a senior policy adviser to British Home Secretary Sir Ronnie Flanagan; Raymond Huo a lawyer and writer;  Phil Twyford, former global head of policy for Oxfam;  Council of Trade Unions secretary Carol Beaumont;  Maori education advocate Kelvin Davis; Carmel Sepuloni,  an equity manager at Auckland University; and Stuart Nash, who stood in Epsom last election and if memory serves me right conetested and lost the selection for Napier.

I wonder if the CTU will have the same problems with their secretary standing for Labour as the EPMU does with Shawn Tan standing for Act?

Update: I see on Keeping Stock that I should have checked Scoop which has the full list.

Exactly who gets in on the list depends on the party vote and which canidates further back on the list win seats because each seat won puts those in front of them on the list back a slot.

On current polling anyone past the mid 30s will be unlikely to get in unless they win a seat which could include some MPs.

Damien O’Connor at 37 followed by  Judith Tizard, Mark Burton, Mahara Okeroa, Martin Gallagher, Dave Hereora to  Louisa Wall at 43 will be unlikely to still be in parliament unless they win seats. Lesley Soper doesn’t have a show at 77 and unless she requested to be in a totally unelectable position it’s an insult to put a sitting MP so low.


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