Phil Quinn on Mana and Faafoi

September 6th, 2010 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

is a former Labour staffer and Porirua City Councillor. He is worried about Labour selecting Kris Faafoi:

is once again up for grabs and there are two serious candidates seeking the nod.  One of them, , is a press secretary to Phil Goff, Labour’s current leader (and, full disclosure, an old mate of mine — although we haven’t spoken in a while).  I am sure Faafoi is a tremendously capable guy, but his candidacy annoys me.  Here’s five reasons why:

1.  I have seen a letter he has sent to branch members.  The complacency and sense of entitlement reflected therein is reason enough to vote for anyone but him.  His candidacy, judging by his letter, is entirely about him, and the local party members are expected to fulfill the role of fawning pawns.

2.  He is neither fish nor fowl.  Faafoi is neither a local candidate with strong Party credentials nor a celebrity vote-magnet.  I am not someone who rejects outright the idea of parachuting in well-known identities to contest by-elections, and Faafoi , a former TV reporter,  has pretensions toward such a category — but he falls way short.  His fame is ankle-deep and is worth precisely no votes for Labour.

3. I gather from well-placed sources that Faafoi first considered becoming an MP two weeks ago.  Call me old-fashioned, but the Labour Party should not reward such fly-by-night ambitions with (nominally) safe seats.  If he has harboured no political ambitions for all but two weeks of his charmed life, then it begs the question: how much time has he dedicated to learning about public policy and preparing himself for Parliament?  None, I would venture to guess.

4.  The Porirua/Mana electorate has been treated like a prison-bitch by the Labour Party for too long.  Outsiders like Faafoi, Laban (the retiring member), Kelly and his predecessor, Wall, have represented the seat since its creation.  If Faafoi thinks that having family members in the electorate adds up to something, then he is more naive than I thought (and I thought he was quite naive to start with).

5.  The NZLP should stop looking at 20-year old census data:  Mana is not the overwhelmingly Islander-dominated seat they think it is.  Since the expansion of the electorate for MMP, it now encompasses large white, middle class suburbs of the kind Labour ought to be very nervous about (from the formerly marginal seats of Kapiti and Western Hutt).  The instinct to back Faafoi purely on ethnic grounds is patronising and simplistic — but it is also strategically misguided.

This should be wringing some warning bells, when it comes from someone with no interest in the outcome, yet knows the electorate well.

I have nothing against Kris, but it is obvious the fix has gone in for him to win, with his replacement as Chief Press Secretary already lined up.

If I was a Labour delegate in Mana, I would find it hard to go past . Josie would appeal to all sections of the electorate, and would seriously help Labour’s rejuvenation.

I’m not saying this as some sort of cunning double plan, where I am trying to get some Tory mole in place, or some doofus. Josie will be a serious pain in the butt to National if she wins.

All I am saying to delegates is to keep an open mind, and decide on the performance of the two candidates – don’t let Head Office decide for you, who will be the MP for the next 20 years or so.

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29 Responses to “Phil Quinn on Mana and Faafoi”

  1. pollywog (1,153 comments) says:

    Fuck i hate tokenism…and people who stand for nothing but fall for everything, especially when its my own people.

    Maybe its just a way to get rid of Fa’afoi as press secretary and set him up to fail in another capacity.

    Cos c’mon…He must be total shit at his job if he’s in anyway responsible for the way Goff spews mangled soundbites forth for public consumption.

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  2. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Already promoted beyond his leval of incompetance so promote him some more!

    Makes perfect sense.

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  3. wreck1080 (3,905 comments) says:

    once were….mates…

    Stabbed in the back …doh……

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  4. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Actually he stabbed him the chest. Refeshingly honest.

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  5. Auberon (873 comments) says:

    I agree Murray, refreshingly honest – after all, we know this is pretty much what was on the minds of the Labour foot soldiers in Mt Albert the last time Goff parachuted in his prefered candidate, I just don’t recall any of them expressing it quite so openly.

    At least in that case they parachuted in talent. Kris may be talented, but he’s very young and a pretty unknown quantity. Mr Quinn makes some very good points indeed.

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  6. Pete George (23,559 comments) says:

    I see this as a test case for how Labour wants to refresh it’s line-up. This is indeed a warning bell. As is “Faafoi first considered becoming an MP two weeks ago” – that sounds suspiciously like his “consideration” is a setup job.

    Goff has to be seen to be strong as leader, but he also needs to allow his electorates to have a strong selection process without interference. Strength is in managing the people democracy gives him, not managing which ones will become his pawns.

    If the eventual candidate is successful they won’t have a significant effect for a term or two. But who is chosen, and how they are perceived to have been chosen, could have a major effect next year.

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  7. J Mex (190 comments) says:

    The ‘pool of talent’ is looking a little shallow.

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  8. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    Ah, comment embarrassant.

    The ‘pool’ looks as though it is leaking pretty badly.

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  9. dave (988 comments) says:

    I think Labour’s Mana LEC will be having far far less of a say in who its successful candidate is than Nationals LEC on who its candidate is. And Mana voters won’t even be aware of that.

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  10. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    The “pool” looks more like a damp spot if this is their best shot.

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  11. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    I don’t know about Mana per se, but I doubt the “pool” there is any shallower than anywhere else. And in most electorates National and Labour are both usually spoilt for choice for intelligent, committed, hard working people who’d make excellent MPs for the electorate.

    What they’re less likely to do, however, is toe the party line and fawn to the power brokers. The very qualities that would make such people excellent repesentatives of their fellow citizens – determination, independence of thought, energy, outspokenness – are preciely the qualities those in charge don’t want.

    Instead, they want someone like Fa’afoi who (judging by his “mate’s” description, I don’t know the man) thinks he’s a movie star and will happily do what Phil, or whoever’s in charge, tells him to do so long as he gets the media attention and the paycheque… and to hell with the people of Mana.

    At the risk of repeating myself yet again: We deserve better than this, and it’s time we started demanding we get it, or boycotting the polls as a “none of the above” vote.

    As an aside, I’m pleased to see Phil Quinn includes the revered (though I don’t know why) Winnie Laban in his list of useless carpetbaggers. Just because she’s a middle aged smiley Pasifika lady with a chiefly title doesn’t set her beyond criticism, though those on the left seem to think that it does. And, aside from leaving the furniture intact, the woman’s Parliamentary legacy shines with as much majesty as Alamein Kopu’s.

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  12. unaha-closp (1,164 comments) says:

    I think Labour’s Mana LEC will be having far far less of a say in who its successful candidate is than Nationals LEC on who its candidate is. And Mana voters won’t even be aware of that.

    You’d think so. But then again the Nat’s LEC will probably select the totally well qualified and deeply local Melissa Lee as their candidate.

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  13. dave (988 comments) says:

    Deeply local?????? oh haha.

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  14. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    unaha-closp suggests:

    the Nat’s LEC will probably select the totally well qualified and deeply local Melissa Lee as their candidate.

    I doubt her assertion that the lower orders from Lower Hutt would use Transmission Gully to invade and rob the nice white middle class people of Porirua would win many votes, unaha-closp :-D

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  15. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    @pollywog 2:18 pm

    Cos c’mon…He must be total shit at his job if he’s in anyway responsible for the way Goff spews mangled soundbites forth for public consumption.

    The other option is that Faafoi is actually good at his job, but Goff is the one who is totally shit at his job because he is either unable or unwilling to take Faafoi’s media advice.

    Maybe Faafoi’s real reason for putting his name in the hat is because he believes in the principles the Labour Party was founded on, believes he can do a better job than Goff in representing them, and is frustrated by Goff’s incompetence. Not that Faafoi would ever admit that, of course.

    phil.quinn, I would challenge you on your point “…how much time has [Faafoi] dedicated to learning about public policy and preparing himself for Parliament? None, I would venture to guess.,/blockquote>

    I don’t think anyone can hold down a job as a media advisor to a Party leader without gaining a substantial knowledge of public policy and how Parliament works – unless, of course, the Labour Party is so incompetent that it tolerates someone in that role who can’t.

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  16. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Always refreshing if not particularly unusual to see the left kicking the crap out itself toad.

    Thanks for playing.

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  17. lastmanstanding (1,293 comments) says:

    2 points

    First hes just another Socialst porker looking at getting his snout into the trough.

    Second and Ive said this for years MPs should be limited to 3 terms of 3 years. Just like public listed company directors.

    If they give their all they will be buggered and need a break and after 9 years they wont have any original contributions They will be stale and just going thru the motions.

    Look at those who have been there. The same old same old

    In both sectors they need to be moved out to make way for fresh talent.

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  18. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,069 comments) says:

    I don’t think anyone can hold down a job as a media advisor to a Party leader without gaining a substantial knowledge of public policy and how Parliament works – unless, of course, the Labour Party is so incompetent that it tolerates someone in that role who can’t.

    Not forgetting that Kris was a senior political journalist for many years before he joined the Labour Party. He’d know a lot more about policy than most of the farmers, unionists, lawyers etc that make up a plurality of newly elected MPs.

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  19. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    Really Danyl? So when DID he join the Labour Party? A week before he decided to become an MP?

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  20. Michael (909 comments) says:

    Labour’s selection process could be hijacked here – If Josie Pagani can get the local electorate committee onboard she may have a chance. She just needs to get enough of her supporters to the meeting she win the floor vote and floor delegate vote – and a lot of Union members qualify to be at the meeting. That’s how Winnie Laban won selection in 2002, by bussing in SFWU members to override the local Committee.

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  21. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    @Murray 4:55 pm

    Always refreshing if not particularly unusual to see the left kicking the crap out itself toad.

    Forget the label “the left” in the context of the Greens, Murray. You may perceive us that way – we don’t. The Green agenda is environmental sustainability and social justice. Both the market and the state have roles in achieving that.

    I’ve got no allegiance to Labour, and I’ll give (and have given – recall my comments about Labour’s 2008 ETS) them just as much shit as I do to National when I think they have stuffed up.

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  22. wreck1080 (3,905 comments) says:

    @toad – the greens are natural lefties.

    Show me a country where they are not.

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  23. Clint Heine (1,570 comments) says:

    The Green agenda was created not too long after the Red agenda collapsed. Same people, same bullshit values.

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  24. pollywog (1,153 comments) says:

    the revered (though I don’t know why) Winnie Laban in his list of useless carpetbaggers. Just because she’s a middle aged smiley Pasifika lady with a chiefly title doesn’t set her beyond criticism, though those on the left seem to think that it does. And, aside from leaving the furniture intact, the woman’s Parliamentary legacy shines with as much majesty as Alamein Kopu’s.

    eh !!!

    i sent an email off to her electorate office asking for a list of achievements for her 10 yrs in the big house, comittee chairs, bills proposed and legislated, milestones in her PI affairs portfolio…that sort of thing

    haven’t heard shit, so i can only gather she was merely Aunty Helens smiling brown handmaiden who stood around at the wedding and did fuck all except dance when the music played.

    …and the fact she bailed early for a cushy job in academia rather than go hard in her shadow role as PI affairs spokes person against Georgie Te Heu Heu speaks volumes to her character.

    When the going gets tuff, the weak swap jobs.

    For all that, i can’t se Fa’afoi being any different. If he were any good at his job, now is not the time to be swapping it.

    …and while it sounds nice for the party faithful to be heard saying one supports Labour’s values, it doesn’t mean shit unless someone cares to explain what they are anymore ? I haven’t heard a strong opinion from him on anything but i’d sure like to. Preferably something outlining the suffering we as a silent, invisible Pasifikan underclass are experiencing and likely to suffer more when the inevitable price gouge that is the GST rise kicks in.

    We don’t need another whimperingly tame Pasifikan lapdog. We need, in the truest sense of our hybridised gene pool, a mongrel with a killer instinct and decent bark whos not afraid to bite either.

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  25. Tom Gould (141 comments) says:

    Phil Quinn, the parliament is littered with MPs who were parachuted into their electorates, on all sides of the House, as I suspect you know only too well. It seems to me that either Faafoi or Pagani would make the grade. I’m not concerned at all that Faafoi only considered becoming an MP two weeks ago. It is normal for people to sieze an opportunity when it arises. Seems a pretty healthy attitude to politics, to me. John Key says he decided he wanted to be Prime Minister at the age of 10. That level of careerist calculation is far more disturbing.

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