Been released some amusing e-mails from one of the participants (should be easy to guess). Well known Labour activist and wannabee candidate Greg Presland e-mailed New Lynn and Waitakere candidates the following:
I am the acting chair of the Titirangi Ratepayers and Residents Association. We are intending to hold a “meet the candidates” meeting on November 22, 2011 from 7 pm to 9 pm at the Presbyterian Hall, 244 Atkinson Road Titirangi. As the area has parts of two seats in it we are inviting all candidates for the New Lynn or Waitakere seats to attend. …
I am in the process of arranging an independent chair for the debate part of the meeting.
Can you each confirm that you are available.. Can national secretaries send this email to their local candidates.
This was sent on the 10th of November. Most genuine meetings have had incites go out well in advance of the final fortnight. Now Paula Bennett could have just replied with a I’ve already got something on that day (which she has) but her reply was:
Dear Greg –
I must admit your invitation did make me smile. I well remember 6 years ago as a very new candidate unwittingly going to this meeting that was a complete set up by the Labour Party and how appallingly it was run and how rude everyone was, fool me once and shame on me, fool me twice … well it ain’t going to happen. I will not be attending. Since the boundary changes around 4 years ago, none of the Waitakere electorate is in the Titirangi catchment – hence why I wasn’t invited 3 years ago.
Anything involving you would be blatantly party political as you are the West Auckland Labour Party Chairman and constantly negatively blog about me under the psuedonym Mickeysavage, I could bring as many of my supporters to match the Labour stacking that will go on and everyone could have a mud slinging match, but what a waste of everyones time.
Enjoy your evening.
So it was an invite for a group that do not even live in her electorate by the main Labour activist in West Auckland. Don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out there won’t be a single undecided voter there. Now Paula’s response was fairly polite. Then Greg replied with this:
Six years ago I arranged for a local Headmaster of impeccable standing to chair the debate because I acknowledged that I have strong political views and I considered that an independent chair was appropriate. There were at least two members of the National Party on the TRRA executive at the time and I was careful to make sure that the meeting was conducted properly. I received no complaints and thought the meeting went well.
Last election we decided to have candidates from the Tamaki Makaurau seat, this time we thought that we should have Waitakere candidates again. And you are wrong, part of the Titirangi area is in the Waitakere seat. You should get out a map some time and check the boundaries.
This time Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse will chair the debate. Am I missing something?
As for blogging well using taxpayers money to advertise constituency clinics deserves criticism and your particular style of politics is appalling. Why someone who gained a degree using public funds should destroy the opportunity for others to do the same is beyond me. And your disrespect for the rights of privacy of beneficiaries while supporting a Prime Minister that tramples over the independence of the media in trying to protect rights of privacy that were surrendered as soon as he called a press conference is distressing in the extreme.
May this election return a Government that will work in the best interests of ordinary Kiwis.
By the way I am not the West Auckland Labour Party chair. There is no such position.
The funny thing is Greg sent that version of the e-mail with the paragraph part-bolded just to Paula. The next day he sent a sanitised one to all the other candidates, including Paula.
What is funny is Greg regards Penny Hulse as an independent chair. I have no beef with Penny, but she is a politician of the left and not independent, in the sense of someone apolitical.
Anyway good on Paula for not falling into the same trap twice.