A silly comparison

February 4th, 2014 at 9:54 pm by David Farrar

Andrew Geddis tries to compare my statements on Labour cancelling the selection of Lesley Soper in Invercargill with National cancelling the Selwyn selection in 2007.

Andrew glosses over the key difference. No one at all has suggested that Soper’s selection in Invercargill was done improperly. The simple truth is that no one else wanted to stand, nominations closed with just her, and then once Eric Roy retired they decided they wanted a different candidate.

The 2007 selection for Selwyn was very different. Disgruntled candidates complained about the process and made allegations of favoritism. There were threatened law suits. If a selection has had procedural failings, then it is quite right to re-open it.

But if there were no procedural issues at all, then an uncontested selection shouldn’t be overturned.

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19 Responses to “A silly comparison”

  1. Joanne (177 comments) says:

    Labour has eyed the retirement of Eric Roy as a chance. Lesley Soper has stood in two elections for them and she was good enough then and in 2014 and now they perceive it as a winnable seat Soper is out.

    If I was a member of Labour I would be a tad pissed of. Labour has displayed so far a win at all costs mentality DESPITE the policies announced so far being badly thought bribes and not easily implemented without damaging the economy.

    Going back to Onehunga in 1993 Labour Head Office also shafted a number of candidates.

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  2. Colville (2,250 comments) says:

    Geddis has a great brain. Pity about the red tinted spectacles.

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  3. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,880 comments) says:

    Geddis has great spectacles. Pity about the brain.

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  4. SW (240 comments) says:

    “But if there were no procedural issues at all, then an uncontested selection shouldn’t be overturned.” – DPF, as Andrew Geddis points out, that was not your position in 2007:

    “I think every seat not currently held by National should have an active selection contest. Yes it can be challenging for managing parliamentary relationships, but overall the party gains members and supporters when we have contested selections for seats National does not hold…
    And a healthy selection process can help ensure that National doesn’t end up with “dud” MPs as happened in 1990.”

    Your concern was clearly not about procedural issues – in your 2007 blog post you say you knew nothing about the details!

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  5. eszett (2,392 comments) says:

    No one at all has suggested that Soper’s selection in Invercargill was done improperly.

    Actually, as Andrew also pointed out, Soper had not been selected.
    And even as the only candidate, it does not mean that she would have been automatically selected.

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  6. CHFR (226 comments) says:

    eszett that is weak even from you.

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  7. OneTrack (2,973 comments) says:

    A lefty glossing over details? That’s never happened before.

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  8. alex Masterley (1,507 comments) says:

    Does Prof Geddis have a brain?
    PBA Sim did, but it was rather well preserved in something other than formaldehyde.

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  9. All_on_Red (1,557 comments) says:

    Oh Andrew Geddis, climate science denier

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  10. iMP (2,352 comments) says:

    The Selwyn schenanigins was related to unlawful procedural breaches of National’s own rules, the membrship protesting that, and was re-run properly, according to the Constitution.

    The Soper situation is quite different, National wanting to avoid a fait accompli, like with Aaron Gilmore in Chch East, the only nominee after #2 withdrew unexpectedly, and all other candidates being busy in the Selwyn contest.

    In that instance, National elected to let Aaron Gilmore go thru wthout a selection, while everyone else was busy. Did not end well in Hanmer.

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  11. eszett (2,392 comments) says:

    CHFR (179 comments) says:
    February 5th, 2014 at 6:11 am
    eszett that is weak even from you.

    lol, you can’t see the irony in your “rebuttal”, can you?

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  12. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    My comparison largely was based on your approach to each situation. In relation to the Selwyn reselection, you didn’t dwell on the reasons for it at all. Rather, you leaped straight into an enthusiastic paean to the benefits of contested selection processes full stop. And, then when the originally selected (not just nominated, but actually selected) National candidate stepped aside, there were no tears for the unfairness that had been done him. Rather, you only had praise for his party-minded sacrifice.

    Compare that approach to your response to the Invercargill situation and there’s a stark difference (I allege).

    As for the alleged differences between the situations – in each case, circumstances changed. In Selwyn, the circumstances were that local members claimed there had been “pressure” on people not to stand (but were any actual breaches of National’s formal rules alleged – which is, remember, what you seem to think should be adhered to strictly). So the Board annulled the entire selection – a far more intense intervention in the process – so as to permit a “clean” selection that all would be happy with.

    In Invercargill, the nature of the upcoming election contest changed with Roy’s retirement. So Labour decided to see whether this new fact changed the minds of any other potential candidates in the area by reopening nominations (and nominations only – no-one had actually been selected) for a period. Something that it seems at least some local members wanted to see happen.

    Furthermore, in both situations, none of the participants are complaining about what happened. David Carter accepted the move, and even stood aside (kudos, indeed!). Lesley Soper says she’s up for the challenge (for the moment, anyway). So why anyone else cares about the issue is a little … odd. Much less saying that it represents some sort of threat to NZ’s democracy, as your original post did.

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  13. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    If the countries top law professor tells me the process is robust and legally correct, I trust him.

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  14. David Farrar (1,883 comments) says:

    AG – in both cases I have taken an anti-hierarchy view, which is consistent with my general views on selections.

    In National the hierarchy were accused of manipulating the process to protect an incumbent MP. There were complaints and the process started again

    In Labour the hierarchy were accused of interfering not to protect a favoured candidate but to get rid of someone out of favour.

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  15. alex Masterley (1,507 comments) says:

    DPF,
    You need to look at these things from the perspective of Labour=Good, National=Bad.
    Then it will all become clear.

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  16. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    @DPF,

    That is a way to interpret it. Of course, on that analysis, if it turns out there was significant local support in Invercargill for reopening nominations in the wake of Roy’s announcement, then you’d retract your criticism? Because when you say:

    In Labour the hierarchy were accused of interfering not to protect a favoured candidate but to get rid of someone out of favour.

    who exactly (apart from yourself) is making this accusation?

    @alex,

    I don’t think I’ve said either Labour or National were “bad”. Both sets of actions in both electorates seem completely sensible to me – and, as I note, I don’t see anyone from inside either party complaining about them. So I’m not sure why outsiders would want to jump into the issue.

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  17. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    @Alan,

    If the countries top law professor tells me the process is robust and legally correct, I trust him.

    Has Philip Joseph commented on this issue? I haven’t seen it … .

    Seriously, but, there may be a possible legal question mark over reopening the nominations – as I say in my actual post, the rules around this are unclear. But as Lesley Soper doesn’t seem to be objecting, and she is the only person directly affected, it doesn’t really matter much.

    Party rules aren’t Acts of Parliament that must be followed in every situation. They are agreed rules between all the members of a Party, which form a sort of contract between them. And if they agree to act in a way other than what the contract (party rules) say, then that is their business alone.

    So even if reopening the nomination was “in breach of the rules” – which simply isn’t clear – then that is a matter for the Labour membership (and Lesley Soper in particular) to complain about. If they (and she in particular) doesn’t, then it is a case of no harm, no foul. Just as was the case in Selwyn … even if there had been no breaches of the National Party’s formal rules when Carter was selected, the fact that no-one objected to the decision to re-run the selection process means that there was no problem with doing so.

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  18. alex Masterley (1,507 comments) says:

    AG,
    One word
    Fun!

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  19. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    @alex,

    Well, yes. There’s always fun!!!!

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