I’m stll amused by Labour launching their campaign before they have a candidate. Do they not realise that there is no party vote in a by-election – only a candidate vote?
Also not sure stealing Winston’s campaign slogan is a smart idea. People may ask then why they stopped the MP who lives in Mt Albert from standing, and instead are parachuting in a UN guy?
Now that Shearer is guaranteed to win. Head Office is highly dominant with 3/7 votes, but the local electorate committee will not necessarily roll over and play dead for Goff’s old school friend. The Herald has a photo of all the candidates here.
Meanwhile the media, and seemingly the party hierarchy, appear to have anointed UN diplomat David Shearer as Labour’s candidate for the seat. It’s a strategy that may well backfire. Shearer’s abilities are not in question; he might well make a first class MP. But local electorate organisations don’t like being presented with a fait accompli where candidate selection is concerned and may well rebel.
Seven votes will decide who wins the Labour nomination for Mount Albert – four from the electorate and three from Head Office. If I were one of those four, I might well be starting to feel somewhat disgruntled around now. Whether it is reality or not, the perception is that that the old boy network is at play here. A close friend and former advisor to Phil Goff, who has been out of the country for three years and does not in any real sense live in the electorate, has jetted home to be dubbed ‘frontrunner’ in the race before even getting off the plane. There are veiled suggestions of carpetbagging. None of this may actually be the case, but it is certainly how it looks. And in politics how things look is everything.
Perception trumps reality in politics.
At another level, what Labour now needs more than anything is rejuvenation. Shearer will be new to Parliament certainly, but his age and close association with the Labour establishment do not really suggest an infusion of fresh ideas. And with the announcement that Russel Norman will stand for the Greens, rejuvenation and new ideas have become an urgent priority.
I should declare that Judy and I have both offered 24-year-old Meg Bates our support in her attempt to win the nomination. Meg has been one of Judy’s tutors in Political Studies at Auckland and we have got to know her very well. If she doesn’t win the nomination, we’ll be delighted to support whoever does.
Dame Cath Tizard has also endorsed the young Bates.
This is not Shearer’s first attempt at Parliament. In 1999 he was a list only candidate for Labour – was ranked No 62. In 2002 he was ranked No 45, and stood in Whangarei where he did not do so well. Labour beat National in the party vote by almost 4,000 votes but Phil Heatley won the electorate vote by over 3,000 votes.
Looking at the vote splitting, Shearer got only 74% of the Labour vote, and 1% of National voters, Heatley got 92% of the National vote and 14% of the Labour vote.
I understand Shearer also stood for the Waitakere nomination at one stage, but lost it to Lynne Pillay.
Shearer may also struggle with how well he fits the rejuvenation that Labour claims it is about, as he is in his 50s.