The Herald reports:
I may be wrong, but I can not recall any other time when a party has gone to candidate selection (for a seat not held) within a year of the election. Normally selections are late in the second year of a three year term. Sometimes earlier in the second year, but never heard of selection starting in the first year.
I’m speculating that Labour had a few nervous List MPs, and they didn’t want them fighting each other all year for seats, so they decided to minimise any in-fighting.
Ms Ardern has confirmed she is putting her name forward to be Labour’s candidate in 2011, meaning the high-profile race will start almost two years before the election.
Ms Kaye won the seat for National for the first time at the last election, and Labour is desperate to get it back. …
Ms Ardern, who is originally from Morrinsville, has recently moved to Auckland and said she was passionate about the city and enjoying life as an “apartment dweller”.
Jacinda was highly ranked by Labour in 2005, and is one of their more able MPs. As she said, she has just moved to Auckland, and in fact she is still officially the shadow MP for Waikato and the Bay of Plenty. I think her office is actually in Tauranga.
Ms Ardern has been able to avoid an internal party struggle for the nomination, with fellow list MP Phil Twyford deciding to go for Waitakere, currently held by National minister Paula Bennett and another of the seats Labour is holding early selection for.
You almost have to feel sorry for Twyford. He’s basically been shafted again (after the Tizard factor had him withdraw from Mt Albert). Jacinda had the numbers on the ground to win the looming selection battle, so Phil has (wisely) decided to concede. However as his office is in Auckland Central (in fact he set it up just two doors away from Nikki Kaye, the National Electorate MP) it is all going to be somewhat strange.
The Waitakere candidate has his office in St Marys Bays, and the Auckland Central candidate has her office in Tauranga. Aucklanders are less parochial than provincial seats, but may still find the carpet-bagging a factor.
Mr Twyford, the party’s Auckland Issues spokesman, said he believed Waitakere should be a Labour seat and its loss was a “temporary blip”.
I think Phil will do better if he doesn’t say things like that. It comes across as somewhat arrogant and a sense of entitlement to the seat. What I would have said is:
I believe that Labour’s values are the values of most Waitakere residents, and I am looking forward for the opportunity to contest and win the seat.
Talking of a temporary blip, suggests you think the voters made a horrible mistake, and that it will right itself given time.
Normally in Opposition, you hope to win seats back, and don’t expect to lose any more. But on current polling, Labour needs to worry about some of the 21 seats it still retains, as well as try and claw some back.